Album Title: Down Below the Fog
This is a CD re-release of the first demo from Extinction, a UK band playing raw, droning black metal.
The production on this record is very thick. The bass and guitar create a solid "wall of sound" effect through which the drums are barely audible. Even the vomited vocals seem to be drowning. That said, Extinction does an excellent job with balancing the production so that the occasional heavy riff can be made out. A few samples lend an industrial touch to the proceedings.
In terms of songwriting, this album hews close to the Transilvanian Hunger style. The songs consist of shifting, atonal guitar driven by relentless drumming. There are slower breaks throughout, during which more conventional riffs occasionally surface. The vocals have a chance to shine during the breaks, as well. Surprisingly, most of the songs are rather short. In fact, I can't remember the last time I heard an album in this style with three minute songs! It's very refreshing.
"Prologue" is an industrial/ambient intro. I'm not a fan of these, but this one is done well.
"The Fusion of Blood and Fire" has some interesting knife-sharpening samples in it. These are treated almost as another form of percussion, which is a neat idea that more bands ought to try. The opening riff is fucking huge!
"Down Below the Fog" starts out with some atonal guitar and drums, then heads into a blasting section. The second half of the track is taken up by rumbling ambient noise. It segues into "The Fall of the Blazing Red Sun", a short interlude between this and the next track.
"In the Shadow of the Moon" gets much of its power from the vocals. Vuel's Burzumish groans and creepy laughter are the only thing between the listener and a swirling void of guitar.
"Incomprehensible Darkness" is by far the best track on the CD. The songwriting here reminds me of Judas Iscariot -- the slow, unhurried riff variations and mid-paced beat are perfect. The ending is appropriately vicious, as well.
"In the Eye of the Great Beast" combines blasting drumming with slow guitar and vocals, creating a sense of dissonance in the listener. The grandiose guitar work during the slow parts is really excellent.
"Epilogue" is similar to "Prologue".
This record requires a certain mood. If you have time to sit down and absorb it, you can get a great deal out of it; if not, you may grow impatient with the obscurity of the sound. If that appeals to you, Extinction is certainly worth checking out. If not, you might want to hear this demo, regardless -- "Down Below the Fog" is pretty heavy despite the droning style, so you might be pleasantly surprised by it. Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "The Fusion of Blood and Fire", "Incomprehensible Darkness", "In the Eye of the Great Beast"