Here we have some uncompromising Black Metal from Bulgaria. After a quiet and sinister intro “Falling Asleep”, all hell breaks loose on the track “Aegri Somnia”. This is basically how it stays for the rest of the album. Fast and furious battery and diabolical guitar work serve as the framework. Vocalist Monolithe spits and growls his way through some standard grizzly lyrics about death and less than hospitable weather conditions. There’s a short section of pagan moaning on “Aegri Somnia” and a spoken section but there’s no doubt where we stand. It’s the dark, vitriolic stuff of Koldbrann and the like. “Sein zum Tod” starts as more of a funeral march. The ferocity here is mixed with some slow-paced material and breaks which are designed for maximum discomfort. “… At the End …” has Monolithe growling out a story. The environment is created of a cold sun on a misty morning. “The wind is mourning, ever changing its tunes of sorrow”, he moans. The guitar blazes on, while the battery continues to be relentless. It is dark out there. “Chaos Reborn” is an exercise in violence and motion. The thrashing guitar could be regarded as melodic if it wasn’t so punishing. The mid-section is doomy and slower but instrumentally it’s soon back to sirening guitars and all-out action. Monolithe preaches gloom on “The Shades of Night” to the now customary background wall of frenetic sound. Again, to prevent us from being too comfortable, the pace drops down momentarily, picking up so that it’s blazing by the time of the sudden end. OK, it’s clichéd perhaps, but there’s no pretence at anything new. This is about harshness, agony and death.

As far as the overall impression is concerned, sometimes the vocals seem to be at odds with the thrashiness. There’s also a pagan atmosphere in there with the invocation of nature and occasional vocals. Where “Aegri Somnia” scores for me is in Dimholt’s excellent mastery of pace and control. The album’s sound quality is not fantastic, but it’s ok for a self-release and in any case Black Metal does not need crystal clarity to be effective and evil, which “Aegri Somnia” certainly is. There’s no scope for warmth here. It’s cold, sombre and merciless. Just the way we like our Black Metal to be.

Andrew Doherty

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