|Satanic Warmaster - Nachzehrer|
|Written by Philip|
|Tuesday, 12 April 2011 21:07|
Satanic Warmaster has always been about tradition, and has long been the perfect embodiment of all that is pure, true, classic black metal. From Satanic Tyrant Werewolf’s raspy, feral vocals and raw, savage, and grim guitars to the black and white imagery of occult and folkloric evil, everything about Satanic Warmaster has been consistently executed to precise black metal aesthetic for over ten years. Never has Finland’s finest considered changing it up for mass appeal, or thought about throwing something new into the mix to broaden the sound. From the beginning the mission of Satanic Warmaster was just this: stay true to what black metal always has been and always will be. In addition to this mission, which is not necessarily explicitly stated but has been implied over this career is this: release consistently fantastic black metal that puts others to shame. The mission continues to be accomplished.
Five years passed between the last Satanic Warmaster full length and the latest offering, Nachzehrer (a German vampire-zombie that consumes the dead). Over that time there were no shortage of limited edition compilations, splits, and EPs released under the Satanic Warmaster name, but a full length of new material was becoming long overdue.
After a two minute intro track, “Satan’s Werewolf” blasts into mean and fast, harsh black metal with the old days in mind, full of primal, Darkthronian or even Mayhemian riffs and a very analogue, grim sound. Werewolf’s voice cuts through the distortion to deliver his maniacal messages of Satanic glory and curses. A somber and melancholic, rather medieval synth melody eventually drifts through the trees, burning slowly in the fog of this tyrant’s hateful land. This track indicates the beginning of the newest Warmaster journey. After this, it never lets up and Nachzehrer treats us to relentless hammering, blurry riffs that never lose focus of cold, dirty blackness, and often break into headbanging structures long enough to cause some harm, and then return to the fast and primitive.
Five years between full lengths is quite some time, and perhaps Satanic Tyrant Werewolf acknowledges that he understands this with the track “Warmaster Returns”, one of the highlights of the album, with its coupled aggression-atmosphere and tormented, dramatic declarations of strength. The track heralds in the triumphant might of the Warmaster, literally and metaphorically. The tremolo guitars layer to make what is one of the most atmospheric and majestic passages on the album, something that is no new trick from Satanic Warmaster, but is a fully ingrained part of the unholy arsenal with which he has always created music of terror and raw, epic valor.
At times the drums, primarily snare and bass drum, can be hard to hear. This occurs during blast beats or any high speed portion, although they sound fine when tempos slow and instruments are given room to breathe and expand into the ether of relaxed victory. Guitars are endlessly distorted but without the treble overdose that can rattle the eardrum until it shatters. Melodies that are simultaneously ghastly and jubilant find plenty of room to grow during the slower moments when chainsaw riffs aren’t enough, and make the “felt” moods of the music much more direct and blatant. Each track has a specific structure it sticks devotedly to, but enough riffs and mild but suitable dynamics create the sense that it’s not becoming repetitive or dull at any moment. The pummeling, fast moments transition flawlessly into mid-paced haunts, and the slow crawls of building momentum usually split to either atmospheric darkness or headbanging purity. The final moments of the album take us through the ritual of summoning ancient, folkloric entities and all guitars and percussion are absent. Synths evoke a troubling, medieval, dismal vision and we’re led toward the end.
Nachzehrer is another cold and unholy piece of Finnish black metal history, desecrating the pious world beneath its feet.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 17 April 2011 00:35|