Words by Jimmy Glinster
Well, where to start with this one?
It’s a 45-minute black metal album … with 5 tracks. I’m not sure what I dislike most about that whole sentence, but anyway, personal biases aside, I’ll give this a listen and see how it pans out.
We’ll start where it starts with His Masters Voice. First impression is that this album sounds like it was recorded in a tin shed in 1985. But that’s the whole sound right, the black metal thing?
The opening riff is actually pretty killer, and then the vocals begin and it’s exactly what you’d expect, dry and droning. The riffs continue to deliver though, and this impressed me a little, but we are now 2 minutes in and I’m wondering where the next 5 mins of this song is going to take me. Another riff, and then another, which is kind of pleasing with the sparce arrangement of vocals allowing the riffs to breathe. Towards the end of the song the pace drags down a bit into a sludge session of detuned chords and a pretty little lead which screams impending doom … and there it is, just in time to close the song.
After surviving 7 minutes of that one, I’m now facing a 9-minute track titled Hate Cloak. Sounds scary, I know. Turns out not so scary after all and is a much slower track to the opening thrasher.
What stands out here while reading the lyrics is that there is not a hell of a lot of them for such long songs and that’s due to the spaciousness of the riffs, and the long-winded cycles of chugs. Listening to this track in its entirety is actually a bit of a workout, and I’m quickly starting to lose my concentration and interest. Only 4 minutes to go.
I made it, barely. And luckily, Wake of the Awakened woke me back up with its fast thrash intro. Enter dry droning vocals, yeah, this seems to be where this album is at. By now I’m realising that I probably like Black Metal less than I originally thought, but who knows because I don’t know if this is a good black metal album or bad black metal album. This track does have some pretty killer riffage in it though, in between all the doom and gloom that is. Not a bad track, but it does feel like it could have been 2 or 3 separate tracks.
Voyage to a North Pole Adrift comes at you with some added fuzz which I’m not sure is intentional or a blown speaker, maybe both? Maybe it’ll clean itself up in the next 9 and a half minutes? Probably not, but I’ll give this song one thing, it actually sounds like its title, and I feel like I’m on a slowly rocking pirate ship somewhere in the Arctic ocean. About 5 minutes in we seem to hit some icebergs or something and the song starts to rock a little harder. Surprisingly, we don’t sink though, and the journey continues as the song picks up some serious knots. Again though, this song sounds like it could have been split into 3 or more.
Well, I’ve made it to the last track Lost Arcane City of Uppakra and I’m not nearly as disappointed as I initially thought I would be. And lucky for me, this is the shortest track on the album, coming in at a measly 7 minutes and 3 seconds. The track even comes with its very own bass and pan flute solo … at least I think it’s a bass and a pan flute. This one takes the award for the weirdest track on the album and leaves me feeling really lost, totally confused and a little bit dirty. Seriously, what the fuck just happened though?
If you’re into your black metal and have the other 18 albums by this band then I’m mildly confident that you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not into Black Metal and this band’s other 18 albums, then this is probably not for you.
But hey, who am I to tell you where to dip your wick, give it a listen, it could be the moisture that’s so desperately needed to float your boat.