Around the turn of the millennium and in subsequent years began one of the most fruitful and memorable periods in underground black metal music. Some may call these the waves of BM (first wave in the 80’s, second wave in the 90’s and so on…) but I only remember the splendid albums that were released. Watain’s raw debut, the Rabid Death’s Curse or Antaeus kult classic – CYFAWS, the first full lengths from Katharsis, Khold, Thorns, even DHG’s 666 International could be on the list and so too does the one and only album Wings Of Antichrist by Sweden’s Triumphator. An absolutely terrifying and untouchable release from that time.
Their one and only demo, The Triumph Of Satan and the following EP, The Ultimate Sacrifice came out before Wings Of Antichrist crushed the eardrums of BM fanatics with its savage, devastating attitude of mind. I remember when I first heard WoA in its entirety, it brought to mind Marduk’s fastest and shortest album Panzer Division Marduk – similar in vein, in speed but different in aura and approach. (Just a side-note: both albums were released in the same year). If you look up the line-up for WoA, you will see that long-time Marduk drummer, Fredrik Andersson (he left Marduk after La Grande Danse Macabre ), played on this record together with vocalist/guitarist Arioch and Deathfucker on bass. If you know Fredrik’s style of drumming, you know what to get from him – hyperfast blastbeats, no fucking around, even the sound he used on WoA for his percussions, is somehow similar to PDM’s drum patterns and even Arioch’s guitar themes remind me a lot of Morgan Hakansson’s (Marduk guitarist) style. Maybe it’s in the notes he plays, or the tuning he uses, but don’t get me wrong, it’s not about copying or stealing riffs from another BM musician, no. The truth is, that the poisonous light that shines through the essence of the swedish black metal realm, cast a shadow upon them. (For example, if you want to know more of Arioch’s work I recommend the whole Funeral Mist discography and you will get what I mean.)
The eight songs on WoA stand massive as an evil monument and bring sonic destruction with each listen, no empty passages, no unneeded things. The darkly suffocating, torturing atmosphere is really punishing sometimes and Arioch’s unearthly, demonic voice strengthens this feeling. His trademarks of devilish choruses, eternally long screams into the abyss, show the listeners that he is really a talented musician. (Maybe that was the reason why he was chosen to be a full-time member and vocalist in Marduk, under the stage-name Mortuus, I don’t know, but I think it was a great choice, since Legion’s vocal qualities were getting low after Nightwing came out – this is just my opinion, of course). The overall production of WoA is very well balanced, you can hear every instrument in the mix, even Deathfucker’s nasty bass lines, Fredrik’s drumwork is extremely brutal, blast after blast – as it should be. The only moment when you can take a sip of rest or star-gaze is the beginning organ piece from Heralds Of Pestilence which is one of my favourites from the album.
First and last, this is still a significant release in Swedish black metal history, even if it has been lurking in the shadows for more than 15 years.
LUPUS CANIS – MMXIV