Monday, August 22, 2011

Darkthule - Revolution of Souls EP (2005)

The Revolution of Souls EP bears very little structural difference from the full-length that had come but a few months before it. At least as far as the music. On the surface, it's a limited edition 7" built for collector appeal, but while it once again features attractive cover art, the contents are no more than the standard, contrived raw black metal being blustered forth by thousands of artists worldwide. A ton of mediocre, blasted sequences anchored only by what one would hope is the refinement of the guitar. That said, the two tracks here are notably more under-polished and dirty sounding than those of Wolforder, and there are a few tweaks that make for a marginally more hostile, memorable showcase than either of the band's albums before it.

This is achieved through a superior sense for atmosphere. The manic, tortured vocals being squelched out over "Days Like Years", for example feel truly grisly, and the strange, crashing early bridge seemed to come out of nowhere. The fuzzy, tremolo riffing is nothing out of the ordinary, but the roughness of the distortion here gives it a particular ringing that resounds in the skull for at least a brief spell after the track ends. "The Gospel of the Heretic Scorn" continues this process, straight ahead noisy black metal akin to Transilvanian Hunger or the old Burzum records, but it builds a nice wall of airy force, and the synthesizer sequence that arrived in its depths is not unwelcome, offering some sheltered variation from the seething storm that led up to it.

In truth, I like these songs more than any I experienced on the full-lengths, even if the actual production sounds more rushed and amateurish. It's one of those cases where the atmosphere (accidental or possibly intentional) really gels to create a consistent hostility. Fans who worship any of the old Norse works of Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Mayhem, and so forth would feel right at home. That said, Revolution of Souls is hardly a leap beyond Wolforder, and in short time, the songs are just as forgotten. But for 13+ minutes of strictly by the book, snarling primacy, you could do worse.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

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