Review Summary: Very generic, there isn't much reason to listen to this more than once or twice.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
This album offers black metal akin to Swedish kinsmen Watain and Ofermod, as well as reminding of Deathspell Omega at times. The band would fit in nicely with the bands signed to the NED label, such as Deathspell Omega. Mostly uninspired, but at times intriguing to listen to is how best to describe this album. The moments where there is something interesting going on are worth listening to, but there sure are a lot of filler riffs and songs on this album that really make this seem rather long.
The guitars are pretty sub-par. First off, the production makes them seem weak and almost fragile when they play without the drums accompanying them. The arpeggiated sections sound way to indistinct to really make them melodic but are also to thin to sound aggressive and raw. The more standard tremolo and power chord riffs suffer less from this production. I think a simple matter of adding more overdubs and layers would make the guitars sound far more effective and powerful. The riffs themselves are almost exclusively uncreative, they simply do one note per bar tremolo, or some sort of half step/tritone based arpeggio riff, ultimately a very formulaic approach to black metal. If the band wasn't dependent solely on guitars then this could be overlooked, but as the melodic content comes from the guitars they are quite dull, especially as they are not particularly harsh or abrasive in sound.
The first two minutes of the album actually reveal the greatest potential of the band. The use of the church choir is one that I always enjoy in black metal, due to the obvious satiric nature and the perversion of the choral music. It contrast very well and would be very interesting, except that it is never played in tandem with the guitars/vocals/drums/bass. If the choir samples were layered over the music I think that Ondskapt would have found themselves an interesting formula (as long as it is not overdone). Alas the two minutes of choir in the beginning do not reoccour in any interesting parts of the cd.
The actual song structures are rather aimless and meandering. They variate from faster tremolo section to slower arpeggio section to mid paced power chord part in nearly every song, a formula that gets old fast. There is nothing memorable, to the extent that when parts do repeat in the structure it is not very obvious because everything sounds very similar. It is hard to distinguish songs on this cd, mainly due to the uninspired guitar formula already mentioned.
Vocally there is some hope, because even though the vocals compliment the guitars and sound rather hollow, there are moments of cleaner singing that could be used more to create a diverse effect that would distinguish parts of the structure. The is also a certain morbid trudging feel to the music that the low vocals work well with. I hesitate to say the sound is doom metal influenced, but the slower sections certainly allow room for the comparison to something like a sped up Nortt. Atmospherically the album isn't as sub par as the review so far would lead you to think.
The album sounds fairly bleak and dark, but it lacks the punch to really either make it sound crushing and doomy, or aggressive and abrasive. It is worth it to give a listen if you like Swedish black metal but I wouldn't expect anything pushing the genre in a new direction, or an album that is one of the best in it's style.