In Battle - _In Battle_
(Napalm Records, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (
These guys are being promoted as one of the fastest black metal acts ever, and it's obvious from the opening seconds of their debut CD that they definitely merit that description, and then some. Comparisons to fellow Swedes Marduk and (especially) Dark Funeral come to mind instantly, but such comparisons really don't do justice to In Battle's punchier, more frenetic and technical compositional style. In contrast to the fairly linear, non-complicated stylings of their hell-paced peers, In Battle perform complex material loaded with nearly-constant changes - yet without easing up on the throttle for more than a few seconds at a time. Fast, fast, fast, and the hyperactive song structures only heighten the feeling of break-neck intensity. Imagine an even more frenzied (and better-produced) version of the second Immortal album, and you begin to approximate In Battle. Neither catchy nor easily accessible, it's defiantly strenuous music, forged from an uneasy alliance of harsh black metal war-mongering and the warped structural sensibilities usually associated with technical death. Very cool stuff, totally straining with intensity, but by no means easy listening! The drummer and lead guitarist from Setherial are participants in this project, and it shows in the vocals, guitar technique, and really fast, precise percussion. While some of today's bigger black metal bands are leaning in mainstream directions, these guys are trying to push the limits of extremity - and totally succeeding at it. Crazy stuff.
(article published 12/8/1997)
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