Sweden's Ugly offer a debut of hostile black metal with an excellent mix and blazing infernal energy, which should appeal to fans of the extreme Norse scene (1349, Marduk, etc) as well as countrymen like Lord Belial, The Legion, early Dissection, and Sacramentum. Most importantly, they understand the power of adorning each track with quality riffing to mark them as distinct yet unified pieces of a whole.
The chaos begins at "Seven Heads, Ten Horns" with a cavalcade of dark, shimmering riffs, socio-occultist lyricism and barbaric drumming. Then they bust into the grinding "Divide et Impera", a smorgasboard of evil guitars and fast as fuck mentality across a sweeping nightmarescape. "Crooked Serpent Salvation" starts off with some slower paced, vile guitars before fusing back into the blasterpiece. The rest of the album retains consistency, with some of my choice tracks being "Throne of Grief", the sadistically awesome "Hierarchy of the Undead", and the black anthem "Death Beyond Flag or Uniform". The way they combine lyrics of horror, sacrilege, and history awards them a depth not always common to this style.
Once more, the mix is quite fantastic here. There isn't quite enough bass for me in the mix, but it doesn't hinder the overall sound. The drums and guitars just sound intense, and Ingemar Gustfsson's vocals spit just enough of their vitriol to justify their loud presence. This is yet another devastating album of Swedish black metal in their long and fine tradition, and worth a purchase for any fan of the bands I mentioned above. Well executed.
Verdict: Win [8/10]