I have never been a big fan of black metal. The extremely shrieky vocals, extra highly distorted guitars, and terrible recording/production quality by the genre’s original bands was always a huge turn off. I appreciate bands like Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, and Celtic Frost. I understand the relevance of Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal, and Emperor. They are just not going to be on my playlist any time soon. Therefore, I got a little concerned when I started listening to Bergen, Norway based Among Gods new self-titled album, which will be digitally available (iTunes, Spotify etc.) on April 16, 2013.
The opening track, ‘Apocalypse’, starts out like old school black metal, but with much better sound quality. The aforementioned shrieking vocals are also missing. Vocalist, Ken “Ripper” Olsen’s lower, more graveled vocal fits the tone of the songs and mixed styles of the songs to come much better. Among Gods comes about face on the next track, ‘Night Procession’, with a more doom/death metal feel. This track is slower, more plodding, and has an even heavier feel. ‘The City of the Dead’ has an even doomier feel with its low tonal guitar intro, but it then opens up into a double kick driven death metal chugger with a quite moshible breakdown/bridge. Among Gods black metal influence rears its head again on ‘Martyr’ big time. Olsen even screeches out some more traditional vocals to drive home the point. Two more doom flavored death metal tracks, ‘Crucifixion’ and ‘The Plague’, close out the album. Both tracks are crushing mid-tempo head bangers with some blast beats thrown here and there for good measure.
A constant theme of the album is to weave in and of the three genres, using a pinch of each here and there to add a unique flavor to each of the songs on the record. Noting the background of the members of Among Gods Broke (ex-Arvas, Vithr) and Andrea Costanzo (in Syrach with Olsen) on guitars, Ivan Rolstad (Vinterbris, Neoplasma) on drums, and Remi Skråmestø (ex-Arvas) on bass) it’s no wonder each style is represented.
Among Gods could be on to something with this album. They are the first band to create blackened death/doom metal, but they do it in a unique way that a non-fan of traditional black metal like myself can get into. Besides, when I played it for my wife, she said it made her want to stab me in the eye with a fork. It’s gotta be good!