Black Mass - _To Fly With Demons_
(Grindnoiz Records, 2001)
by: Quentin Kalis (6 out of 10)
I'm not sure whether Black Mass wish to be regarded as a black or death metal band. The music contained on the album sounds like mid-paced, brutal death metal; on the other hand, the accompanying band photo shows the trio adorned in corpse paint, wearing inverted crosses, black clothes and spiked armbands -- the usual black metal trappings and attire. Similarly, song titles such as "Invocatium Satanas" and "To Fly With Demons" suggest a preoccupation with the same lyrical and ideological topics as their grim-faced Norwegian peers. So I guess that although musically this is, without a doubt, death metal, it is black metal in attitude. As a black metal album, the growls and mid-paced tempo of the songs provide an interesting break and a much-needed respite from the relentless speed and banshee screams that characterise much of black metal. As a death metal album, it sounds awfully generic, with nothing to distinguish _TFWD_ from the hundreds of similar sounding death metal albums from the early '90s. Nevertheless, there are a couple of decent songs -- especially "Altar of Ill Repute" and "Continual Darkness". Unfortunately, the inclusion of two above average songs coupled with the novelty of black metal masquerading as death metal is insufficient to rescue this release from the domain of the mediocre. Admittedly for those who listen exclusively to black metal this might sound fresh, but those with a broader musical appetite will recognise it for unremarkable album it really is.

[Alvin Wee: "Old-timers of the scene remember this cult combo from their countless number of demos, and comparisons will no doubt be made with Nunslaughter both music- and status-wise. Hints of classic Morbid Angel and Incantation invariably pop up amidst the guttural chaos, but I expected a little more considering the cult status this combo has gained. Ordinary blackened death that troops like Avenger and Arghoslent do way better."]

(article published 3/7/2002)

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