Godkiller - _The Rebirth of the Middle Ages_
(Wounded Love Records, 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (8 out of 10)
I don't know why the guy behind this one-man black metal project settles for the fairly modest nickname "Duke Satanael", when the overall package of this 20-minute CD easily earns him the title "King Cliche". Picture of a castle on the front. "Duke Satanael" posing on the back, covered with makeup, holding a big sword and glaring at song titles like "The Never-Ending Reign of the Black Knights". On the inside, a flatulent speech about just how evil "Duke Satanael" is, inverted crosses, more wonderful sword poses, and so on. Bored yet? I mean, how many times has the -exact- thing already been done? (The answer: so many times that none of this stuff has any real impact anymore.) Still, the -music- the Duke creates proves to be quite enjoyable stuff: good, unpretentious black metal which flows nicely, features some great riffs, and has a reasonably dense, well-balanced sound. The riffs are definitely what makes Godkiller stand out: instead of endlessly repeating the same ultra-simple combination of notes over an unchanging beat, the Duke takes a basic black metal riff and then craftily bends it around, putting it through variations that greatly increase the music's appeal. In addition, keyboards are used almost perfectly: just prominent enough to provide cool harmonics, but never fancy and never more than a backup for the riff. Cool keyboard-and-drum breaks also make for some nice dynamics, laying down hard rhythms and harmonic lines which the guitars leap onto and take off. Vocals are in the screechy Burzum style, though perhaps a bit smoother and definitely less annoying. Percussion sounds solid, if maybe a bit basic. So, despite my gripes about the image, I quite enjoy the music - it's a very solid entry into the genre, even if not a particularly innovative one.

(article published 16/3/1997)

10/1/1998 P Schwarz 6 Godkiller - The End of the World
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