Arma Christi
[No Colours]

What we see here, is a slice of Norwegian black metal actually coming from Norway, for a change. This sounds so fuckin’ Norwegian that it drives me into a mad fury when I try to find one detail from this album that is not DARKTHRONE. Well, one thing is that Darkthrone never had lyrics as bad as Urgehal’s ”Dethronation of God”.

It might be an adequate review of this album to simply say ”it’s a Darkthrone clone, you will like it if you like Darkthrone, if not, blah blah”. But I won’t say that because that is obviously what Urgehal want to be said of them and I will defy that what is expected!

So, Urgehal play raw black metal tunes with mostly mid-tempo pace, simple riffs that could be from a rock record were it not for their unsophisticatedness and repetition. It’s grim and dull, like a rusted old knife. The rawness is not as exaggerated as to be truly hateful, the mood is rather calm and cold. The stench of DEATH is in this album but in a less evocative way, I would say, than in early Black Funeral.

The vocals are steady rasps with quite a similar tone and also pronunciation of words to Darkthrone in ”Transylvanian Hunger”. They are also decidedly lacking in variation. This quest for simplicity is always appreciated by me as a listener, but in here something about it sounds unsatisfying. There is certainly a method to it here, but ”Arma Christi” is not a finished work. It’s what you would/should expect from a ”black metal album” and it’s easily swallowed by a grim listener the same way as he might swallow the same type of food day after day. But if the listener bites before he swallows, there is something hollow underneath the cover of this.

What it lacks, is the driving force, the momentum, the lightning burst energy that Darkthrone had when they reduced everything ”musical” to a pile of raw metallic shit in their creative/destructive peak. To repeat what has been done before, gives the stench of death to the material, but that is not enough. The people walking in the streets stink of death, too. What should make black metal unique, is to go beyond all that is now considered ”brutal” and ”grim”. It should be sick enough to make people vomit themselves into oblivion, instead of slightly annoying them with recycled feelings of social-rejection anger!

© 1999 black hate