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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: Urgehal - Aeons In Sodom

Black metal fans beware: do NOT miss a chance to listen to this album. ‘’Aeons in Sodom’’ is a tribute album to the late vocalist Trondr Nefas, who passed away in 2012 at age 34. This album therefore marks the end of Urgehal as a band, making this album a very special one. Half of its material was written by Trondr himself, while the other half was written by guitarist Enzifer. In honor of their bandmate and friend, the album was written according to his strict policy of using satanic and misanthropic lyrics. Guest musicians include members from Darkthrone, Taake, Shining, Carpathian Forest, Tsjuder and many more, making this a mandatory addition to the collection of true fans of Norwegian black metal. Furthermore, the album features 2 covers: ‘’Funeral Rites’’ by Sepultura and ‘’Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay’’ by Autopsy.

Opening track ‘’Dødsrite’’ is a simple introduction that doesn’t really add much to the album’s experience, but it has a very smooth transition into ‘’The Iron Children’’, which is a song that will remind you of the days of ‘’Goatcraft Torment’’ (2006) and ‘’Ikonoklast’’ (2009). It is very harsh, raw and not to forget dark. The vocalist for this track is Nocturno Culto from Darkthrone, and quite frankly, he nails it. At this point, I’m already losing track of which song is which, not because every track sounds alike, but because the transitions between songs are just so very fluent. ‘’Blood of the Legion’’ is track number 3 on this amazing record, and it won’t stop blowing me away with fast beats, raw vocals (which were performed by M. Shax of Endezzma) and those shredding lead riffs that characterize Norwegian black metal so well. ‘’The Sulphur Black Haze’’ is a song of which the vocal tracks were done by Hoest (Taake) and starts off raging, but also features some slow paced parts, which you will find are not so present in this release. Next is one of my personal favorites, ‘’Lord of Horns’’. It is a track that combines relentless chords and riffs with a very satisfactory tempo and vocal lines. A great representation of this type of black metal: fast and furious (in contrast to the downbeat depressive black metal). Credits go to Mannevond of Koldbrann for the amazingly angry vocals. ‘’Norwegian Blood and Crystal Lakes’’ was done in collaboration with Niklas Kvarforth of Shining. It has a very nice groove to it and sticks to the cold, harsh sound of the North. ‘’Thy Daemon Incarnate’’ (with vocals by Sorath Northgrove of Beastcraft/Vulture Lord) is pretty similar to the previous track, it is a mid-tempo track with some fast parts. Since there are no fundamental changes in sound on the album (which is exactly how Trondr Nefas would’ve wanted it), there is little to add on this track. ‘’Endetid’’ is probably the most consistently fast songs off the album, with some slight changes in pace here and there, but overall a great anthem for some good old fashioned moshing. Nattefrost’s (Carpathian Forest) appearance here is surely no disappointment! The final track that features vocals is ‘’Psychedelic Evil’’. The song is perfectly interpreted by Nag of Tsjuder, whose vocals are one of my favorites in the genre. I have to admit, the track does honor its title, since it has the most evil sound on the entire album. Closing track ‘’Woe’’ is an instrumental track, a perfect ending to the final release of a great band and an honoring tribute and farewell to the late singer. It is best described as a track you would normally find in ambient/epic black metal or any old horror movie. It is an instrumental that would have been fitting for Nefas’ funeral, had it been recorded 4 years ago.

Overall, this album deserves an 8/10 for its unforgivingly relentless sound and awesome guest appearances (not only vocalist, but this would’ve been an even longer review if I had given credit to every contributing artist). ‘’Aeons in Sodom’’ is not only a great tribute, but a very strong, angry, piece of black metal artistry. There was not one disappointment to be found, although I will say once more that the opening track really doesn’t add anything. My respect goes to Trondr Nefas for his musical spirit and to all the artists that helped make this album a bloody good piece of Norwegian Black Metal heritage that combines the cold, harsh sound of the North with influences of death, speed and thrash metal.

Written by Nino Milillo

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