Originally reviewed here.
While black metal is definitely the genre that has seen the most evolution in recent years, my taste in it has not evolved quite as much. I am still much more of a fan of the raw and sinister black metal perfected in Norway and Sweden during the early 1990's. I still like my black metal owing a lot to thrash and death metal, the style present in the albums of Immortal, Darkthrone, and Mayhem, among others. So when a black metal band comes around that sounds like the more traditional style, I become very interested.
Blutvial is one such band. Hailing from the U.K., Blutvial's sound is unashamedly rooted in the Norwegian style with some nods to Blasphemy and other progenitors of the bestial war metal style. This is harsh and caustic black metal with thrash metal-style riffing and shrieking vocals. This is the kind of black metal I personally love. It is the kind that first captured my attention when I heard Dissection and Emperor for the first time.
From the first moments of this album, it is clear that Blutvial are not here to build an atmosphere. They immediately pummel the listener upon starting the album and they never really relent. The riffs sound a little fuzzy, which is the way that black metal should be produced, but the production is not so bad as to make it hard to hear. The first half of the album is a wall of riffs and darkness, somewhat rare these days in black metal.
The second half of the album sees the length of songs increasing and atmosphere becoming more prevalent. But that is not to say that the band descends into purely atmospheric black metal. The riffs are still harsh and the music is still energetic and violent. Just not quite as much as in the first half.
I am extremely impressed with this release. It is what I personally look for in black metal.