Nuclear Blast

Not quite the supergroup Nuclear Blast is otherwise promoting Susperia as (“featuring ex-members of Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, and Old Man’s Child”) • basically, because these Norse dudes were previously little more than hangers-on who happened to stumble upon an album or tour of the respective bands instead of being integral contributors • it matters not, for their Predominance debut is one of the better, more distinctive black metal records you could spend your hard-won cash on. Next to the atmospheric yet still-there riffs of guitarists Cyrus and Elvorn, the strongest point of recommendation for Predominance is Susperia’s sparingly sparse use of those time-trodden blastbeats • and, even then, only for transition or contrast • the quintet wisely sticking to Teutonic thrash frenzies and goth-rockin’ mid-tempos (usually the latter, and well, at that). Though he possesses a fairly commonplace (but no less good) rasp, frontman Athera can bust out some stirring Viking-styled clean vox (best example: killer lead-off track “I Am Pain”) that’d make Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson raise a pint, and surprisingly still, some of those ballsac-grabbing falsettos ala King Diamond (“The Hellchild,” “Of Hate We Breed”), altogether making Predominance a diamond-in-the-rough mishmash of influences that will hopefully find many a happy customer and a bit of critical clout.

Nuclear Blast, 1453-A 14th St. #324, Santa Monica, CA 90404;

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