Blood Stained Dusk – Dirge of Death’s Silence (2001)

Upon listening to this album, the listener familiar with the classic Norwegian black metal albums from the first half of the ninetiess will undoubtedly be reminded of Emperor In the Nightside Eclipse (1994). But apart from the way in which the keyboards are used for effect, the first Blood Stained Dusk is quite distinct in songwriting approach and in the crafting of individual sections. And while less clear and profficient in expression than Emperor, relegating the present release to a lower tier, Dirge of Death’s Silence is still a highly suggestive and imaginative work of black metal.
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The Elusive Sound

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

While it may appear pandering to many that we constantly bring certain albums to the forefront of our discussion, the reason for doing this is that the state of maturity which metal as a whole attained was only able to knock on the door of the mysterious experience transmitted through music. Different albums discovered different doorways, uncovered overgrown pathways, and scaled mountains. Ildjarn found contemplation of the absolute in the eye of stormy rage through elated freneticism. At the Gates reached hitherto unmatched heights of craft and musicality. All rasping and scratching while blindfolded,  a crossing of the threshold by different means and interpretations. Fewer still are the music albums, metal or otherwise, which struck at a purity of sound that needed no interpretation.
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Wormreich / Diabolus Amator / Gravespawn / Vesterian – Infirmos Vocat Deus Fidei (2016)



This is a split with contributions from four different bands, each of which present three full recordings, making the release altogether rich and diverse. Most, if not all, of the tracks sound under produced, which is a good thing when the listener wants to dig into the real bones of the band, undistracted by the direct impression of “great sound.” While none of the bands here is particularly original, or even possessing a clear line of musical development, the split is enjoyable as a forcefully elaborate underground effort to develop expression within the modern black metal (actual black metal, that is) context.
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Hellhammer Discography Overview

Our tribute to Hellhammer is more than a recognition of their historical importance. Rather, we understand the relevance of Hellhammer as one artistic, in terms of the development of the craft of metal, and as the time-less place of several of their compositions. In general, we can hear the band’s material broken in two directions: one is the temporal rock n’ roll influence, and the other a hint of madness, an intrusion of the unknown into the mind of Tom G. Warrior especially. It is the exploration of this unknown side that brought forth what makes Hellhammer the realization of underground metal as music, not simply as idea or as a ‘social’ movement or a ‘sub/counter’ culture. The latter two are temporal, and ultimately just by-products. What concerns us here is the dark side channeled, the a-/supra- temporal, the in-human and the un-humane making headway unbeknownst and not fully understood by the artists themselves.
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Thrombus – Mental Turmoil (1993)

The present album is an example of undergorund death metal that, while humble and rather representative of the genre, does an excellent job of crafting good, concise music that delivers a strong experience effectively. Mental Turmoil shows us a band that has not liberated itself and is thus at the mercy of stronger influences, such as the more pensive side of U.S. death metal meeting the aggressive side of the more melodic European flavors —and one can hear echoes of an early Obituary somewhere in here, as well as other voices. Thrombus concots its own little mixture of influences, even if there is nothing quite original in it.
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Evil Literature #1: Tony Thorne Countess Dracula (1997)

The myth of Elisabeth Bathory is known to us in its most twisted forms, filtered through years of mysoginistic prejudice and augmented further by gothic sensibility for horror that fascinated the minds of the 19th century. Little understood are the full cultural and historical context of the region and its political dynamics. Little is it taken into account that all records of what happened were taken under peculiar circumstances by those vested in Bathory’s demise, and that greater political forces were at work to bring her whole family down. Nor is it a neglible detail that accounts by primary servants of Bathory were extracted by the hand of a magister tortararum especially trained in the ‘art’, and that these same tortured servants were summarily executed after these ‘confessions’ were given.
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