Gloomy, cloudy cover art? Check. Inverted pentagram on cover? Check. Creepy, hard-to-read Olde English lettering? Check. Ominous raven in the artwork? Check. Umlauts in the lead singer’s name? Check. Okay, I think this counts as Swedish Black Metal, so let’s bang our heads and listen in.
We open with lead singer Magnus Broberg growling in what might be English or possibly Old Norse over an incredibly fast drum line by Nils Fjellstörm. I estimate it at about 240 bpm, which equates to a bad CV joint in an Audi Fox going about 70. The bass player keeps up nicely, belting out a wall of notes. They hold pretty much the same note for long periods of time, but occasionally pause a microsecond, shifting to another fret or fingering a different chord. By track three, “Raw,” it’s completely clear Sanctification isn’t going far but they’re getting there double quick. These guys may have clever lyrics and they may have chord progressions, but if they do they’re lost under a metallic onslaught that buries the listener. Occasionally a guest vocalist takes over — Emperor Magnus Caligula fills in “Black Reign” and Kristoffer Hell jumps in on “Eternal” and “Storm,” although honestly I can’t sense much difference in the vocal styling.
Metalheads, help me out here. These guys are about as extreme as you can get sonically, and you need to support them while your cilia are still young and strong.
Pulverized Records: www.pulverized.net