Satanic Warmaster
Strength & Honour


3.5
great

Review

by theweightofdarkness USER (2 Reviews)
November 6th, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


Making Black metal interesting without losing the essence of its atmosphere is not an easy task, especially in the 21st Century. In the year 8 P.N. (Post-Norway), out of Finland came Satanic Warmaster, with their blistering, destructive, and slightly Nazi debut, Strength and Honour. The album was recorded entirely by Mr. Satanic Tyrant Werewolf (birth name of course), and is a fine demonstration of how the classic black metal style can still be played in an entertaining and powerful manner.

The album starts off with the brutal “Raging Winter”, an instant highlight, filled to the brim with tasty riffs, dynamic shifts, and some intense vocals. “Raging Winter” perfectly captures the essence of what the Norwegians did without ever simply aping it, and thus exemplifies the strengths of this whole album. The song structures are much influenced by Burzum’s self-titled debut, epic without being tedious, lots of riffs but never too many, each riff differing from the next; it’s the kind of stuff Varg referred to as “music written like an epic narration.” The sparse use of keyboards, (the synth sound being very much quoted from In The Nightside Eclipse), also adds to the epic atmosphere without ever going into Dimmu territory.

The album however isn’t pure Norwegian worship. Satanic Warmaster is often credited with being one of the great paragons of the modern “raw black metal” sound, and tracks like “The Burning Eyes of the Werewolf” are certainly a testament to that: its diatonic triad riffs and pretty open string arpeggio breaks being a huge influence to the contemporary horde of bedroom black metal projects and their “cold” sound, as well as its more repetitive structure, taken from the might Transilvanian Hunger. Then there are tracks like the brilliant “Strength and Honour”, where the two currents come together for a destructive and melancholy attack that encapsulates all that is great about this style of music. Though the album wanes a bit beginning with “Wolves of Blood And Iron”, the closing track “Night of Retribution” reminds one once again of just why this album is so great, and wraps things up brilliantly.

Perhaps the album’s few setbacks come from the limitations of its very genre. On a complete listen, one can’t help but begin to feel a bit of déj* vu when a new riff comes up, especially on what is unquestionably the album’s weakest track, “Wolves of Blood and Iron.” Yet even this song picks up around halfway through, leading to an entertaining end. Though complaining about production always works the “true” kids into frenzy, the cymbals are occasionally too loud, drowning out the snare, and thus taking away some potency from the percussion. That being said, the drumming is surprisingly good for a one-man band, though there are particular incidents (such as halfway through “A New Black Order”) when you feel the arrangements call for faster beats, but Mr.Werewolf (who is first and foremost a guitar player) just can’t deliver. However, when this happens, instead of simply hitting *** as fast as he can and sounding horrible (like a lot of his contemporaries do), he breaks into half-time, which might hurt the arrangements, but is at least not embarrassing.

Though not particularly original, Strength and Honour, is a brutal, icy affair, full of memorable riffs and intelligent song writing. The performance is top-notch on all fields, a rare feat for this style of music, with only the drumming faltering slightly at times. Even the sound reaches a nice balance, raw, but listenable, at all times one can make out the riffs precisely, yet never does it sound overtly polished. All in all, this album is an intense and rewarding listen, another worthy addition to the canon of albums that prove that, when done right, nothing quite matches black metal.


user ratings (26)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
November 6th 2011


17818 Comments


oh fuck yes

Digging: Emarosa - Versus

illmitch
November 6th 2011


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is pretty kool

BallsToTheWall
November 6th 2011


44332 Comments


SATAN!!!!

Digging: Tiamat - Clouds

Ignimbrite
November 6th 2011


5331 Comments


M/

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011


16388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good stuff here

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

seedofnothing
November 6th 2011


3425 Comments


will be checking fo sho

bloozclooz
November 7th 2011


1770 Comments


the band name makes me want to listen to this

BallsToTheWall
March 13th 2012


44332 Comments


RAWR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

seedofnothing
March 14th 2012


3425 Comments


RAAAAAAGGIIIINNNNG WIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNTTTTTTEEEEEEERRRRRRRRR



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