Grand Belial's Key - _Kosherat_
(Drakkar Productions, 2005)
by: Quentin Kalis (9 out of 10)
Due to the untimely death of Richard "Grimnir" Mills (vox) on 27 August 2006, this will be the final opus from the grandmasters of USBM. Their sound has advanced considerably from their two earlier full-lengths; the songs are more varied and complex, not relying merely on alternating fast-slow-fast sections, pursuing a relatively technical approach for a black metal band, and the drums especially display a marked improvement.

But of course familiar elements are still present: the old-school Swedish death metal rhythms remain, albeit with a sleazier and crunchier tone; their rampant condemnation of desert monotheism has not abated, and their nonchalant melodies remain intact.

A number of the songs will be familiar to vinyl collectors, as many have appeared on previous 7"s, while _The Tricifixion of Swine _ EP has been re-recorded in addition to two Chaos 88 covers. The EP really didn't need a re-recording, and I am unfamiliar with Chaos 88 with good reason -- their skinhead Oi! punk nonsense is highly irritating and even a band as talented as Grand Belial's Key are unable or perhaps unwilling to save this crap.

Still, the re-recording of _TToS_ EP and the Chaos 88 covers are the only negatives of substance on this CD, and _Kosherat_ is otherwise a fitting eulogy to one of Vinland's fallen sons.


(article published 9/1/2007)

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