Sunday, June 20, 2010


Third album from the reclusive and ultra-elite black metal Orthodox force known as Ondskapt. Occupying a very special place reserved only for class acts like Deathspell Omega, Svarstyn, S.V.E.S.T., Malign and Clandestine Blaze, Ondskapt are an absolutely quintessential black metal unit whose every album is cause for fevered celebration and fervent devotion, a re-imagining of the black arts as total darkened expressionism, a canvas splattered in tones of all pitch alongside an ancient feeling of dissonance and endless night. The first two Ondskapt albums were absolute untouchable classics of Swedish traditionalism and "Arisen From The Ashes" is easily added to that esteemed catalogue, a potent thrashing of barbed mid-tempo horror mixed with a truly cold feeling of icy expanse, a nighttime sojourn through the most glacial textures of mankind's creation, oblique and jagged, uncaring and obtuse.
Ondskapt are unique in that their attitude and approach towards black metal are completely steeped in the shadows of the old masters. This is pure Mayhem/Dissection/Gorgoroth worship with nary a misstep, a trodding of the road towards the black path wherein each footfall is delivered with conviction and assurance. Ondskapt's sound doesn't veer into the obliquely progressive avant-ism of Deathspell nor the primitive and tarnished romanticism of S.V.E.S.T.; instead it's a paced and focused attack, not free of frenzy but certainly not wallowing in paltry extremism simply for the sake of speed. At its most serious black metal is a form of Satanic worship and occultic devotion; Ondskapt's allegiances are never once in question. Listening to this record is being umbrellaed underneath something darker, a bloody and clutching embrace against the warm chest of fetid discordance, the perfect imbalance of yin and yang. Ondskapt refuses the idea of harmony in any form and instead focuses on a rank and stinking corruption of both morality and age, a hearkening towards more ancient pagan values alongside a rejection of modernism. This is the direction in which Burzum steered its brand of black metal traditionalism amongst so much misunderstanding; with Ondskapt the notion is obvious, violently so.
The music reflects the attitude. Unapologetically midpaced and stinking of an angular melodicism, "Arisen From The Ashes" plods along in a bashing fashion with no concept of audience response. This is black metal made for candlelit vigils and flesh-carving devotionals, fostering a sort of environment where pentagrams adorn the walls and flooring whilst droning chants imbue the air with a feeling of darkened unease. Sacrifice hangs in the night; moonlight becomes vomit when exposed to the chill infinity hanging in the starless, choking gloom.
Ondskapt have crafted yet a third classic. Again, nothing new is presenting itself-instead we're treated to a retread of the beginning, a sickly nostalgiah for a hazy and near-forgotten age. Few bands are able to so appropriately and convincingly summon the early spirit; Ondskapt do so with both an ease and a terrifying conviction. This is belief and this is black adoration. This is true black metal art. A must have for any serious black metal fanatic.

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