Friday, January 4, 2013

The Black

The Black - The Priest of Satan
Necropolis Records, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Beast of Fire
2. The Book of Leviathan
3. Towards the Golden Dawn
4. The Sign of the Evil Spirit
5. Lady Lilith
6. Black Blood
7. The Spirit of Solitude
8. After My Prayers
9. The Goat of Mendes
10. The Priest of Satan
11. The Black Opal Eye
12. Whirlwinds through the Land of Ice

Obviously my main drive to hear this band was because of Jon Nodveidt.  After such impressive work with Dissection, I figured how I could go wrong with this.  Now from a slightly disappointing aspect, this sounds nothing like Dissection.  Now that could go good or bad, especially for those expecting something that rivals the glory that is Dissection.  On the other hand it’s good because it shows that Jon wants to play other styles and has other creative ideas behind his music.  So he’s not stuck in a mundane track with which he repeatedly sells the public the same album over and over again.

Now basically this is a very traditional Black Metal album.  It’s not even all that melodic like one would expect from a member of Dissection.  However, it has a very raw feel and is not even a very intense Black Metal sound.  More akin to the feel of Darkthrone, but a lot better in my opinion.  It’s not as simplistic and is a much better upgrade.  However, it doesn’t match the likes of Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse” or anything of that caliber.  I don’t believe this album has any defining moments for the overall Black Metal scene, but it’s just a good thing to listen to overall.  With mild keyboard work to accent certain moments, this never becomes a symphonic Black Metal album in the least.  Keep in mind that the overall concept for this album is the raw, broken down approach to music.  Even the pictures in the booklet are a fairly typical quality.  Guys in the wood with corpse paint; this is obvious that the album is supposed to have that older Black Metal feel keeping in line with the earlier Mayhem looks in the early 90’s.  While Jon is a great guitarist, this is nothing challenging to listen to and even his vocal work seems to be a lot more basic.  Especially in the tone, his tone in Dissection seems to have such a polished feel to it that it makes “The Priest of Satan” sound like a completely different band.  Which, again, I think is good because he doesn’t need to get stuck in a songwriting rut that would no doubt affect Dissection in the long run.  Furthermore the music on this disk would never fit on any Dissection album, and I’ll speculate that that was a major driving force behind the creation of The Black.  Unfortunately I just can’t get excited by hearing this album.  With the likes of so much better music out there, even within the ’94 era.  Even though this is a little more on par with the earlier Satyricon titles, I still prefer the Satyricon albums over this one by far.  That’s just my personal opinion, many may say this slays any of the pre-Nemesis recordings of Satyricon, but I would be inclined to disagree. 

Overall it’s a great album; just it doesn’t have the attack of the other Black Metal albums available in this era.  The majesty that this album seems to attempt kind of loses some of its luster compared to other bands performing similar material.  Although this album does have it’s moments as can be found in the closing track “Whirlwinds through the Land of Ice” but still don’t quite measure up or put this album over the edge in my book.

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