Exploring the bands from the 1996-1999 wave of death metal, I rediscovered this gem. It's B+ black metal, probably never reaching the heights of Immortal before and up to ATHOW
, but far better than their stuff after that.
Strijd: The first album, this is pure raw nervous impulse of a Romantic nature that loves destruction, war, and the drama of turning your back on a world that wants to deny the necessity of such things. Stylistically, it's like Emperor fused with Gorgoroth from the Destroyer
years: simple songs with basic verse-chorus, but when that deviates, it's into Emperor-style archly elegant passages that bring the goosebumps to your skin as they re-explain all that came before. This is really their greatest album.
Verwoesting/Devastation: The two songs whose names appear in the title are pretty good, but you start to see an ugly pattern here. When this band gets confused, they fill in with (a) really bad noodly heavy metal riffing and leads (b) generic death metal bouncy riffing. Most of this split album is a mess, chaotic and disorganized.
Dodengang: This is probably their second best; it contains some really beautiful moments of mature insight. More in the style of Strijd
than the messy death metal of Verwoesting/Devastation
, it maintains the transcend black metal style of "pulling the camera back and seeing the big picture, then making poetry of it." Some good thinking about how to take a melody beyond the predictable color notes.
Triumph in Hatred: 2009 album, not bad at all but much like later Pestilence, guitar geek noodling fills in where songwriting doesn't fit. Most of the first half could have come off of Dodengang
, except that there are fewer deviations from verse/chorus and more use of lead guitar to glue the whole thing together. The leads can be really beautiful, but sometimes the guitar geek school fills in and hogs space without really contributing to the meaning of the song.
In summary: get Dodengang
; consider Triumph in Hatred
. I'm not sure yet what I think of it; I'm inclined to like it but be wary because it has the same disorganized, unfocused and hasty feel as Verwoesting/Devastation
. However, when this band is "on" they really are one of the best things to come out of fourth-generation black metal.
For history's sake, black metal generations:
1983-1989: Hellhammer, Bathory, Sarcofago and Merciless -- proto-black, often infused with death, punk and speed metal.
1990-1993: The Norse explosion + Beherit and the Greeks.
1994-1996: This is when the "Forgotten Woods" style bands started appearing, basically aping the originators but sucking. Fuck Fester.
1996-2000: Fourth generation. Mostly shit.
2000-present: Eternal September generation. Mostly shit.