Artist: Satanic Warmaster
Album Title: Strength and Honor
Label: Northern Heritage
Satanic Warmaster is a band from Finland, playing raw Black Metal. As far as I can tell, this is their first full-length CD.
This is very impressive stuff. Musically, it's somewhere between early Graveland and Mutiilation in execution. Expect rough, screamed vocals, raw guitar, and the occasional background synth. The drumming is especially noteworthy, as it's equally punishing and triumphant.
The songwriting here is quite excellent, and I'd say "Strength and Honor" rivals Graveland's "Thousand Swords" in sheer evocative power. This album goes from brutal to melancholy in an instant, and most of the songs contain more angst than entire albums from most bands. None of these riffs seem unoriginal or overused at all, and the synth is perfectly used to heighten the mood of each song.
Satanic Warmaster's chosen path isn't exactly highly original, but with an album like this, it doesn't matter. "Strength and Honor" is one of the best Black Metal albums I've heard in recent months, and should be heard by anyone looking for honest, old-school Black Metal.
Standout Tracks: "A New Black Order", "The Burning Eyes of the Werewolf", "Night of Retribution"