Feb 032011

I can justly be accused of being enthusiastic about almost everything. That may not be the most metal of outlooks, especially when my enthusiasm turns out to be misplaced, or cools after a little calm reflection; I do lose my bearings sometimes.

But, with all those caveats out of the way, I have to tell you, right now, about a song I just heard.

On the way to my fucking day job this morning, I started listening to the brand new album from Finland’s Alghazanth, which is called Vinum Intus. I wasn’t familiar with this band until we started that Finland Tribute Week thing, and one of our readers (CarlSK) recommended them in a comment, noting that the band’s vocalist is Mikko Kotamäki, who also fronts Swallow the Sun and Barren Earth.

I only got two songs into this new album and then stopped and started replaying that second song. The way I feel right now, this beautiful song is blowing out of the water almost all the other new black metal releases I’ve yet heard in 2011.  (more after the jump . . . including the song)

It’s called “With A Thorn In Our Hearts”. It’s 7:32 in length. It’s sweepingly melodic, and emotionally affecting in a dark, mid-winter kind of way. Kotamäki’s vocals are knife-edged and raw, the guitars flood you with tremolo cascades and arcs of clean chords, and there are folk elements that make an appearance near the end.

Can’t get this thing out of my head (and don’t want to). So, as usually happens when I get enthusiastic about music, I bang out something for this blog. In this instance, I just couldn’t wait until a review of the whole album to say something. I hope you dig this as much as I do:

Alghazanth: With A Thorn In Our Hearts


  1. Methinks that in this case, the enthusiasm is quite justifiable…

  2. Wow, this is great – thanks for posting. I’m actually reminded a little bit of Ulver’s “Nattens Madrigal” – the melodies, at least. I’ve always wished for a slightly more comprehensible mix of that album (I know, how un-kvlt of me), but knowing I’ll never get that, this seems like it might be the next best thing.

    • In my continuing effort to become better educated about black metal, Ulver is a band I’ve been meaning to hear for some time. I guess it’s past time that I turned to them.

      • One thing to note about Ulver is that their black metal period was only really their first three albums, after that it became something else. Many people lover latter day Ulver, I’m not a huge fan. Nattens Madrigal is my favorite Ulver album, and kvlt or not I love the production. It should be noted that the second Ulver album is an all acoustic one, so if you listen chronologically the change between albums two and three is striking.

  3. I can see the Ulver resemblance, but the song reminded me more of Bergtatt than of Nattens Madrigal, mostly because of the relatively clean production and the folk elements. Anyway, that was a pretty song, I especially liked the melody about three minutes into it, the violin and the choir were a nice addition. So far, the second best black metal song I’ve heard this year. (The best one is the title track of Stained Glass Revelations by Negative Plane.)

  4. If you’re on an Ulver bender do check out the second album, it might be all acoustic but I think it’s right up your alley.

    • I’m game — despite the unusual production, I sure liked Nattens Madrigal, though I’m having trouble conceiving how a band could move from an all-acoustic album to something as seething and scalding as Nattens Madrigal. Should be very interesting.

  5. I prefer post-Perdition City Ulver myself.

    Not to say that all their albums aren’t of amazingly high quality, they are, and the original black metal triumvirate are rightly held in high regard.

    It’s just that latter day Ulver is such an experience. I already have tickets to see them again as their performance at Hellfest was spellbinding and left me feeling literally drained of all human emotion.

    • I’ve been reading about their metamorphosis over time, and it sounds fascinating. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to listen to older music, but since I’ve more or less started from the beginning, I’m going to try and continue working my way forward to see how the music changes.

      By the way, I’ve now listened to the entire Alghazanth album and it’s amazing — all of it.

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