The Black

The Black

The Black

Alongside Death

Pulverized Records

Feral, mystical black metal is the order of the day from this all-star Swedish troupe consisting of members of Tyrant, Vintersong, and Eternal Darkness. Alongside Death is the good stuff — a primitive splatter of distorted rage flows into long meditative, repetitive riffs that take on drone-like qualities and a hint of moonlight shimmer in the lead guitar flourishes. The vocals are on the gruffer end, a sickened raspy growl that occasionally loses its respective shit and shifts upward into a panicked shriek. The drums aren’t anything flashy but provide a solid (though slipped-disc) spine for when the guitars go all Pollock vomit on us. Pleasingly, The Black aren’t averse to adding some dynamics to their songwriting, taking in some of the more sodden spectrum of early thrash and black metal like Celtic Frost, especially in the intriguing riffs and creeping atmospheric trudge of “Dead Seed.” “Death’s Crown” is emblematic of their wall of sound approach, hypnotic in its simplistic, disciplined repetition, lorded over by depraved vocals. “A Contract Written in Ashes” reminds me of “March of the SOD,” slowing things down to a fell mosh. “Fleshless” has some bits lifted from later-period Slayer, their punkoid ultraviolence encased in a solid wall of black metal opaqueness. And title track “Alongside Death” is a Bathory/Hellhammer-esque sludgy knees-up. This one should be a quick purchase for fans of Deathspell Omega, Glorior Belli, Watain, Liturgy, Darkthrone, and Immortal.


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