Crest of Darkness - _The Ogress_
(Listenable Records, 1999)
by: David Rocher (9 out of 10)
The apocalyptic, shape-shifting soundtrack to the life of the murderous Belle Gunnes unfolds here in nine chapters that truly succeed in unveiling a corner of a madly bloodthirsty deity's mind. Rapid, chaotic black metal riffing instantly merges into overlaying curtains of synthetics, haunted by the chilling chants of Kristin Fjellseth, in deep contrast with Ingar Amelien's grating rasps, to suddenly explode in violent, strident thrashing tones and rhythms that are frequently accompanied by distorted, un-melodic, clear vocal lines, not dissimilar to Kraftwerk's. Lyrical and melodic vocals are in fact used very parsimoniously, and are sung with great talent by Kamelot's Roy Khan. Keeping track of the ogress' mind is no easy task, as her moods wander from brooding, awake feelings of remorse to the most insane, bloodthirsty rage -- the expression of her tormented soul is these violent, eerie songs, which unceasingly writhe and turn from atmospheric, anguished, multi-layered experimental soundtracks to pummelling, devastatingly heavy metallic sections tinged with industrial sounds; as peaks of anguish are reached, these form searing black metal cavalcades that succeed in capturing a kind of eerie grandeur fused with the coldly calculated fury delivered by other un-symphonic Norwegian black metal perpetrators. A whole lifetime of schizophrenic, inaccessible blackness, graced with huge, ample sound, is what this excellent album has on offer -- dare to venture and meet it!

(article published 5/19/1999)


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