Artist: Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult
Album Title: Follow the Calls for Battle
This is the first full-length album from Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, a German band playing raw black metal.
This album reminds me very much of what Abigor might have created during their "Orkblut" sessions, if they'd been a keyboardless band - martial, raw metal with frequent breaks and complex riffing. "Follow the Calls to Battle" also contains a few well-placed samples, of war sounds and such. The samples are one of the best aspects of the album, since they're perfectly timed and never overdone, and really add to the experience of the music.
The vocals are a well-executed Black Metal snarl, showing a good deal of range. The guitar work is quite technical... surprising for such a raw band, but certainly not unwelcome. The riffs themselves are fast and varied, though still punishing. I suppose the closest reference points for them are the aforementioned Abigor, and possibly Judas Iscariot, though the songwriting here doesn't seem derivative at all.
In fact, it's some of the best work I've heard lately - these songs are each lean, violent, and very interesting, without any unnecessary frills. The drums are well done, and are almost constantly at blast-beat tempo, as befits the speed of these songs. The drums don't stand out as much as the guitar or vocals do, probably due to the album's production. In fact, I suppose that if I have any complaints about this album, they lie in the production. It's a minor quibble, but I'd have preferred to bring the drums up in the mix a bit.
While this isn't a particularly groundbreaking album, it's not meant to be - this is a paean to the early days of Black Metal, and fully succeeds in conjuring the hateful atmosphere of raw Black Metal. Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Follow the Calls to Battle", "In the Land of the Mountains of Trees", "Our Glorious Presence"