Review Summary: An above average album at times, this little EP showed promise that later Mutiilation would not follow through on.
If you know Mutiilation then you might expect that efforts during Willy's involvement in the LLN would be even more atrociously produced than the future full lengths. The LLN was known for being one of the black metal circles with the worst production values ever (made the Norwegians look clean). That is why it is surprising at how well this album is produced, for both LLN and later Mutiilation standards. What we have here is not indiscernible noises and sloppy riffing and drumming, but rather a solid black metal album. It doesn't do much to further the genre, but it did establish Mutiilation as a serious and solid black metal act. Later efforts would prove to be more polarizing, with either great recognition of albums or little respect for the music.
The music here is not strictly the kind of black metal you expect from Mutiilation. The first song along already includes a less depressive and slow sound than later albums. "Desecrate Jesus' Name" focuses around a very nice headbanging riff that sounds very tight. The drums are programmed (this probably helped with getting a tighter sound) and have extremely good production values for an LLN release. Guitars are a bit quiet (which I personally like) and the bass can also be heard well. Together the instruments sound very synchronized and don't get in the way of one another. The vocals here also show promise, with a more pained kind groan rather than the high shrieks of the Remains... album. In all the song works very nicely on all fronts working mainly with power chords and midtempo tremolo riffs will showing some good tempo variation.
The next song, "Remembrance of my past battles..." also features some good guitar work, as well as a nice solid drum basis. The guitar shows some creative melodic ideas and doesn't play in the predictable style that most black metal does, going out of key (in a good way) to make riffs less predictable. Same thing goes for "Black Wind of War", there is some very nice palm muted power chord riffing that lends the album a but of an old school black/thrash sound. In fact the album in whole sounds a bit like old Bathory in a mid tempo speed. Clocking in at under 15 minutes it's also very easy to digest and doesn't bore the listener with repetition.
The shortcoming of the album is the lack of real creativity though. The songs remain in a familiar verse chorus structure, and generally work with a guitar riff based on power chords or tremolo picking, and although executed well, the instruments usually center around what the guitar does, with drums and bass adding little interesting fills or variations. Vocals are also a little too average, they somehow sound too distant to communicate the hate that is evident in many of the songs. They lack the necessary power to really make the listener identify with the music. That being said they are better than the vocals on many other Mutiilation releases. It's almost a pity that the album isn't longer because it shows promise, and perhaps, if Willy had developed more towards an old school late 80s sound on future albums, later albums would be much better.
In general this is a nice little piece of old school black metal with good production and a very acceptable overall sound. The album manages to be a bit above average with some excellent riffs, especially on "Desecrate Jesus' Name", but later songs show too little originality to make this a must have album. If you like older stuff like Bathory, Tormentor and Venom, which has a less aggressive guitar sound but still an overall evil feel then I recommend you check this release out.
Desecrate Jesus' Name