Review Summary: WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!
It's that time of the year where frostbitten grimness, headbanging and mead drinking forsake all the other unnecessary and unneeded responsibilities that plague your daily life. Included but not limited to paying rent, taking part in Christmas photos, donating to those sketchy Santa Clauses outside Wal-Mart, smiling, and helping people in any kind of way. In essence, continue to be a scoundrel and don't change your ways because it's the one time of the month where everybody's on a December high. *** em, it's time to get Krieg on Christmas. And there's no better play to celebrate this oh so holy day then by busting out some pagan black metal and fermented honey wine.
Throne of Ahaz is an old school black metal band from Sweden that is ripe with pagan themes, mid tempo riffage and black metal authenticity seeping it's way all the way through the bands name. I don't know Ahaz personally but from what I've read of the man he is metal as ***. From sacrificing his son to introducing pagan ethics to society and to warring with un***able aggression this man embodies all that is dark and unholy. "At the Mountains of Northern Storms" is an obscure demo tape debuting in 1992 and somehow finding it's way through my speakers almost twenty years later. This *** kills hard. It's not quite the raw, necro blitzkrieg type of Norwegian black metal nor nor is it of the spacey ambient or experimental variety. Throne of Ahaz's sound is slower paced and less evil sounding than their brethren but they don't sound like a bunch of pussies. They opt for controlled chaos. Tempos flare up at times but never reach Mardukian levels in terms of speed or craziness. The four song assault is relatively organized thanks in part to potent songwriting and excellent musicianship. The production on this is pretty good too. It's not basement quality yet it won't be mistaken for a Hoobastank record either. For it's time period, 1992, the band's sound is terrific. The bass is popping in the most Steve Harris of ways, the drums are thudding like Sleipnirs eight hooves punching the asphalt, the guitars are churning like a hot knife through butter and the vocals are pissed off and worthy enough to be thumbs upped by the guardians of Valhalla. The production is atmospherically/musically accurate to the early black metal sound yet pretty easy to get into. Throne of Ahaz find a perfect balance between accessible and being troo.
When you press play you are greeted with "My Kingdom Is Eternal", a somber interlude featuring acoustic guitar and synthesizer. It sounds like something akin to what Agalloch is releasing today, spoken word and all. "The Calling Blaze" is the first legitimate black metal track with some stellar doom influenced riffing providing a rousing spirit to the song. The mead has been opened, the horns have been filled and everyone is joyously getting hammered in the name of Odin. "At the Mountains of Northern Storms" is a faster track than the first yet retains it's anthemic quality. The vocals counter the guitars with a harsh, throaty rasp that enhances the bands aggression tenfold. The tempo shifts into a speedier section followed by a massive neck snapping riff that will have all the vikings and degenerate scum lingering about to raise their horn of mead to the sky and scream AHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRR. Song features an unexpected but a ridiculously awesome solo which extends across most of the song. It's that time of the night where everybody's ***faced and immobile. "Under The Fullmoon", the fastest and most pissed off track of the bunch awakens the viking horde. Angering them greatly, they arise promptly and start fighting each other in a ferocious manner. The mutual respect and good manners have left the window as wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, cousins and second cousins are found duking it out. Punches are thrown, kicks are attempted, bottles are flying, tables are breaking, people are stumbling about and puking on walruses due to a unsavory combination of alcohol and extreme physical activity. And just like that the song ends. Thus so does the fight. All the warmongers hug each other and say goodbye, happily waiting to do the same thing tomorrow night.