Den Saakaldte – “Kapitel II: Faen I Helvete” (Agonia Records)
After 5 years of cold, heartfelt absence this is the long awaited sophomore release from the super group made up of present and past members of Gorgoroth, 1349, Koldbrann, Fortid and Nidingr! Formed in 2006 by guitarist Mikael Sykelig, most of the original band that included Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) and S.Winter (ex-Aeternus, ex-Gehenna) thankfully remains in 1349’s Tor Risdal “Seidemann” Stavenes on bass along with Dødheimsgard’s Jormungand on keys. Fortid’s Eldur makes his new presence felt with this haunting vocals that include shrieks, death grunts and even pagan wailing whilst the dual guitars of Sykelig and Pantheon I’s Andrè ‘Tjalve’ Kvebek are a veritable whirlwind of clanging black metal riffola working brilliantly off on another when they’re not brutally driving the tempo amidst the blast beat nuclear drumming of Dan ‘Tybalt’ Theobald’s drumming! Still, it’s not for nothing as songs like ‘Forbanna Idioter’, ‘Endeløst Øde’ and ‘Som Ett Arr på Sjelen’ have been crafted to perfection especially in the arrangement dept with subtle grooves, morbid harmonies, varying tempo drops and even the odd tranquil piece here n there to add to the brooding, malevolent atmosphere of this modern derivation of Norway’s famed traditional style! With matching superior production ensuring the crystal clarity of all instruments rather than a pit of demons squabbling, Den Saakaldte definitely hit the mark in aiming for the elite not just in the black metal league but as an all around metal masterpiece stepping forth to cast its dark shadow further afield.