Lucifers Hammer
The Mists Of Time

This decade old American band are leagues beyond at least 95% of the currently overblown "USBM" hype, and it's a real mystery why they've never received any serious attention. Sounding like a more doomish mixture of early Bathory and Mercyful Fate, The Mists of Time twists and crawls through a malevolently dark and sinister atmosphere with crushing black riffing, pulsating bass movements, and thick, despair-laden drumming. Todd Cushman's potent vocals (sometimes reminding me of a less raspy Order from Chaos) also feature a heavy deathlike resonance which absolutely pours throughout tracks of generally epic length, sounding sorrowful, ethereal, and experienced. Keyboards are used sparsely and to good effect (haunting and chilling, rather than artificially melodic), and this entire album, although independently released, is professionally done both in musicianship and packaging.

My only complaint is this completely wretched and gothic sounding bitch "Morganna," but fortunately she only appears for about thirty seconds in the intro and a few moments later in track 3. Track 8, "Enter the Eternal Fire," is an utterly amazing Bathory cover (I never could have expected this) and the respected band is right at the top of the thank you list along with My Dying Bride, Bestial Warlust, Solitude Aeternus, and a slew of other esteemed influences. Above all else is a distinctly authentic American touch, and this should be inspiration to many that it isn't imperative to emulate Profanatica, Necrovore, or VON to become a great U.S. black metal band.

2002 hando