(Andy Synn wrote this review of the new album by the Trondheim black metal band Whoredom Rife, which was released by Terratur Possessions on November 30th.)
While the prevailing narrative may be that 2018 has been “a Death Metal year” (and not without good reason), to dismiss the plethora of thrilling, chilling, and blistering Black Metal albums released over the last twelve months would be a huge mistake.
I’ll be saying more about these next week, when I’ll be rounding up the multitude of meaty metallic morsels which I’ve had the chance to sink my teeth into this year (and highlighting some of my favourites) but, in the meantime, I thought I might try and bring a little bit of extra attention to Nid: Hymner av hat, the second album by Norwegian duo Whoredom Rife, which was released last week.
Possessing a searing melodic menace reminiscent of Dark Fortress and a strident grit that recalls early Watain, along with a sense of blasting belligerence not a million miles away from latter-day Enthroned, the seven songs which makes up this album will undoubtedly appeal to anyone who considers themselves a committed connoisseur of the blackened arts, while even the most wide-eyed neophyte should find something here to capture their attention, such is the band/duo’s clear grasp of the most vital and fundamental elements of Black Metal.
But although the above comparisons inevitably mean that Nid possesses a certain inherent familiarity, there’s also an undeniable rawness and intensity to the material (especially the vocals) which precludes any accusations of piracy or plagiarism and runs rough-shod over any suggestion that this is anything less than another vital, visceral entry in the ever-expanding annals of the genre.
Tracks like scything opener “Summoning the Ravens” and its similarly scorching companion “Verdi oeydest”, for example, may have their roots in the classic sounds of Dissection,Immortal, etc, but are notably grimmer and more dissonant than their progenitors ever were, while even the more melodic and atmospheric “Where The Shadows Dwell” pursues an even darker and more discordant path than its sombre acoustic opening might suggest, constantly seeking to swamp and suffocate the listener in waves of sinister, Shining-esque gloom.
Bristling with razor-sharp hooks and practically pulsating with power, the album’s fourth track, the spellbinding “Hyllest”, is undoubtedly its high point, showcasing every aspect of the band operating at peak performance, from the harrowing, hellhound snarl of vocalist K. R., to the impressively multi-layered and multi-faceted instrumentation provided by guitarist/bassist/drummer V. Einride, all of which is further enhanced by the growing sense of impending doom and encroaching darkness which hangs over the track like a tattered burial shroud.
Of course this doesn’t mean that the subsequent tracks are in any way lacking in venom or vitriol, as “Crown of Deceit” immediately distinguishes itself as one of the most unrelentingly violent songs on the entire album, balancing the more eclectic and esoteric dynamic of its predecessor with an equal and opposite dose of pure, unmitigated fury, and “New Hate Dawns” errs more towards the more darkly melodic end of the spectrum while also maintaining a respectable undercurrent of palpable rage and anguish.
It’s titanic closer “Ceremonial Incantation”, however, which comes closest to matching the devilish delights of “Hyllest”, as the band indulge themselves in over ten minutes of writhing, coiling riffs and hypnotic percussion, punctuated here and there with molten eruptions of malevolent groove and bombastic blastery, that somehow seems to fly past in the blink of an eye.
Make no mistake about it, although Whoredom Rife may not really bring anything extravagantly new to the table on this album, ultimately they play the game so well that they simply don’t need to!
Interesting take on the year, 2018 for me has been ridiculously top.heavy with black metal and very few noteworthy death metal releases except for maybe Bloodbath, Soreption, Necrophobic and Depravity, but that might just reflect my increased passion for BM.
in my intial spins I actually found the album to be kind of bottom heavy with the strongest tracks towards the end, after Hyllest. But after a while I’ve started to warm up to the first couple of songs. This is so far a strong contender for my top 10 AOTY.
Interesting…. I thought Bloodbath was merely an “average” release, and to me Necrophobic are a Black Metal band more than a Death Metal band (but I don’t want to fight about that)… but I can point to a wide variety of DM albums that are all top tier releases this year.
Although, that being said, I can do the same for BM, to the point where I don’t even think this one (as good as it is) would have a chance to crack my top ten!
No, lets fight about Nesrophobic’s genre placement, those always end up well! 😀
Anyway, I guess I’ll just wait for your lists and I’m sure some superior death metal I’ve missed rears it’s head.
…speaking of lists, I have to start filing away on mine…
I hope so. One of the big goals of the stupidly long “round up” lists I do is so that people can have something full of links all in one place which they can use to find new bands they may have missed.
Personally I think the year’s been great for both black metal and death metal. Death metal might have gotten more attention from those in charge of writing about such things but I’ve discovered more than a fair number of black metal releases that have caught my fancy.
As far as death metal releases this year are concerned, I guess it’s a matter of what you’re interested in. It’s been a huge year for OSDM with albums by Skeletal Remains, Tomb Mold, Baest, Carnation, Horrendous, Burial Invocation, Hyperdontia, Scorched, Outer Heaven and more keeping that flag flying.
Also, if you liked that Bloodbath album and haven’t listened to it yet, you should definitely give the new Obliteration album Cenotaph Obscure a try. As much as I liked The Arrow of Satan is Drawn, I think Cenotaph Obscure does what that album is aiming to do more effectively. I’m a bit surprised NCS hasn’t actually given it any coverage TBH.
There have been lots of great black metal albums but none have really struck me, which is pretty sad. 2016 is still my favorite recent black metal year with Sig:Ar:Tyr, Rimfrost, and the mighty Mistur.
Paara is one of my favorites this year, sadly the new Skeletonwitch didn’t stick with me.
“It’s been a huge year for OSDM with albums by Skeletal Remains, Tomb Mold, Baest, Carnation, Horrendous, Burial Invocation, Hyperdontia, Scorched, Outer Heaven and more keeping that flag flying.”
Well that might be part of it, I’m largely tired of OSDM and it takes something exceptional to pique my interest. Of those you mentioned I’ve only heard Outer heaven (boring vocals and 50/50 good/bad riffs) and Horrendous and that one was really meandering and unfocused IMHO. Hyperdontia has a really fucked up cover, I’ll give that one a spin!
Haha I actually listened to the new Obliteration last night, and found it quite good. It’s not the immediate fuzzy feeling I got from Bloodbath (Nick’s vocals, fuck!) but it’s def. a keeper. Cheers man.
Pretty underwhelmed by this. Though as mentioned before it’s stronger toward the end. Too bad, I was pretty exited about it. Previous output it killer. This isn’t bad, but it’s just fine.