By Wouter B.
Rarely do we see the individualistic minds of the Scandinavian black metal scene openly cooperate on a scale as seen on the in memoriam and last album of Urgehal, dedicated to Trondr Nefas Bråthen (28 May 1977 – 13 May 2012). He was lead singer and guitarist and is a dominant spirit in the bands’ final work. His fellow band members decided to release Aeons in Sodom, with friends and colleagues in crime to help finalize the last chapter in the discography.
Trondr left the album halfway finished before passing away in May 2012. In October 2013, Urgehal announced that this was the final album to be recorded with friends performing the vocals. Names such as Hoest (Taake), Niklas Kvarforth (Shining, SWE), Nattefrost (Carpathian Forest) and Nag (Tsjuder) all pay their tribute on this release. Aeons begins (Dødsrite) with a friendly shout out to “[..] all you fuckers, come on, it’s now, or never! Fuck you all, we are Urgehal, and we are here to fucking destroy you!”
This is indeed the case on the opening song The Iron Children (guest musician Nocturno Culto, Darkthrone), thundering away with a combination of black metal and old-school heavy riffing. This pretty much preludes and describes the rest of the album: brutal, satanic, misanthropic, fast and very well played. The recording is straight, seemingly without much brush up and editing.
Heavy as Norwegian granite, The Sulhphour Black Haze rocks your ears into an eerie setting of hatred and despair. The song has a guitar solo to pick your bones clean and vocals (Hoest) to rasp your sinful soul bloody. This is one of my favorites. The unholy hand of Lucifer grabs you by the scruff of your scrawny neck to drag you through the fiery riffing and pounding drums on Lord of Horns, a fast and unforgiving piece. Leaning a bit more to the psychedelic side of the black spectrum, befitting Psychedelic Evil (vocals Nag) and Norwegian Blood and Crystal Lakes (vocals Niklas Kvarforth) have a definite haunting (maniac) undertone in the vocals. These songs also have sections a bit slower, with room for reverbed guitar sound.
Aeons is everything you might expect from a Norwegian black metal release. Horns? Check. Anti-christian? Check. Sulphur and lucifers? Double check! I would almost go as far as saying: listen to this album, you don’t need the rest. That would miss the point however, as the album is as much a tribute to Trondr as it is to the music and it’s history of formation.
I loved listening to it when cycling and during work, although my colleagues may find the reflexive evil grins somewhat scary. It’s infective yet evil, both swinging and sulphuruous. Yet I argue that the music is somewhat repetitive and unoriginal, unlike some of the modern death and progressive metal. That misses the quality of the play and artists, but condones my comparing apples and pears: I liked the music a lot, but more interesting stuff has crossed my path, but maybe not as black and rocking as Aeons in Sodom.
2. The Iron Children
3. Blood of the Legion
4. The Sulphur Black Haze
5. Lord of Horns
6. Norwegian Blood and Crystal Lakes
7. Thy Daemon Incarnate
9. Psychedelic Evil
11. Funeral Rites (Sepultura cover)
12. Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay (Autopsy cover)
Trondr Nefas: guitar solos
Enzifer: guitars, bass
Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone): vocals on track 2
M. Shax (Endezzma): vocals and lyrics on track 3 and lyrics on track 5
Byron Braidwood (Monumentomb): guitar solo on track 3
Hoest (Taake): vocals on track 4
Mannevond (Koldbrann): vocals on track 5, bass on track 12
Malphas (Endezzma/Hagl): guitar solo on track 5 and 12
Niklas Kvarforth (Shining): vocals on track 6
Sorath Northgrove (Beastcraft/Vulture Lord): vocals and lyrics on track 7
Nattefrost (Carpathian Forest): vocals and lyrics on track 8
Skyggen (Tortorum): guitar solo track on track 8
Nag (Tsjuder): vocals on track 9
Diabolus (Vulture Lord): guitar solos on track 9
L.F.F (Angst Skvadron/Tusmørke/Three Winters): keyboards on track 10
Bay Cortez (Sadistic Intent): vocals and bass on track 11
Rick Cortez (Sadistic Intent): guitar solo on track 11
R.M (Angst Skvadron): vocals on track 12