Review Summary: Wait a minute... I've heard this before...
I don't know about the rest of you, but occasionally I am struck with a sense of Deja Vu. I see something as I'm driving down the road which I'm 100% sure I saw yesterday, even though I know it's not possible. I'm not sure what causes this or what makes me believe so strongly in it, but the fact is it happens. Now, it may be pretty cool or interesting if it happens to you in real life, but Deja Vu in music certainly isn't a good thing. The goal with music, especially metal, is to try and invent something new, try and do something which nobody before you has ever attempted. If a band comes along and releases an album which could easily be compared with hundreds of other bands, it's time to change something. In Black Metal, innovation is something which is looked upon with great skepticism, as if Black Metal fans are afraid to ruin the raw, pure emotion and hatred which draws the twisted masses to listen to it in the first place.
is yet another Norwegian Black Metal band who plays the same exact style of music which other bands before them had refined to near perfection. Apart from the occasional solo or two, Tsjuder
are average in every sense of the word. Yes they wear corpsepaint. Yes they use aliases. Yes they are satanic. Yes they are Norwegian. Yes they play blast beats. Tsjuder
formed in 1993, releasing a total of 4 full length albums before splitting up in 2006. In their entire 13 year career, they brought traditional, raw Black Metal to the ears of eager listeners, but after as little as 1 listen you are practically bored out of your mind at the sheer monotony of song after song of the same exact
thing. They definitely can play their instruments well, but they simply are unable to write an entire album of different material. The first couple tracks are very entertaining, but as their 8 track, 50 minute onslaught of an album, Desert Northern Hell
simply becomes one big, giant, headache-inducing blur. I like the enthusiasm shown, but enough is enough.
The guitars are well played, solid and somewhat varied. They take on the normal crunching sound, with very little variance in terms of tone. Though, one of the big upsides of the album is the production of the instruments, which is far better than the majority of Norwegian Black Metal. For it's entire runtime, the instruments are almost always audible, with the exception being the bass, which isn't really a huge deal since bass guitar and Black Metal never really mixed all that well. The guitar leads are fast and heavy, being slightly melodic at some points, not melodic in a Dissection
sense, but melodic in the sense of being able to get you up and headbanging with some of the riffs. There are guitar solos on this album, most notably the one in the second track "Ghoul", showing that Tsjuder
did at least try to vary the music from the usual verse - chorus - verse - chorus - bridge - chorus time line. Drumming is adequate, playing the usual blast beats but even throwing in a fill here or there as shown in "Unholy Paragon" or the fantastic fill at the tail end of the standout track "Mouth Of Madness". The bass guitar is audible at some points, but this being Black Metal it doesn't do much except keep the pace with the electric guitar and sort of hides away in the background.
Vocal wise, Tsjuder
sounds like 100 other bands I have heard. I'm sure you've heard it before also, the raspy screech which appears in almost every Black Metal album known to mankind. No variance at all, the vocals never go to a death metal growl, there are no whispered or spoken passages, there are no background vocals, nothing. This may be where a lot of the monotony and boredom is rooted, so a change in vocal pitch and range would be welcomed with open arms here. Each song is like a huge wall of noise rushing into your ears. It sounds like Tsjuder
simply wanted to play each song as quickly as possible, record it, and release the album. The cover art is a simple but cool picture of the 3-man band, nothing special. The only thing really showing lots of thought and effort is the cool artwork on the inside of the CD jewel case and on the disc itself, which shows an intricate and thoughtful piece of artwork which flows from the CD booklet to the disc, a cool effect.
The two standout tracks on this album are also the two longest, the 8 minute "Mouth Of Madness" and the 11 minute "Morbid Lust". Even for standouts on this album, they rank in the average category in comparison to what other, more deserving bands have put out. Having no keyboards takes away that mystical ambiance which bands like Emperor
create, the simplistic songwriting is terrible in comparison the genius of bands such as Burzum
, the innovation is distinctly lacking when you look at them next to bands like Deathspell Omega
, everything about this album just screams average. Even the clear production and the fairly good drumming can't revive an album from putting the listener to sleep. If you are a fan of traditional, to-the-roots Black Metal, you will enjoy this. If you like creativity and innovation in your music, Tsjuder's
final LP Desert Northern Hell
will bore you to the point of anger.
+ Good Production
+ Solid Drumming
+ A Few Interesting Guitar Solos
- Extremely Low Replay Value
- Boring Vocals
- No Variety At All