THE BLACK - ALONGSIDE DEATH - PULVERISED
Apparently, death will never die. The Black is a Swedish band that has returned to make another record fifteen years after its first one. The band has signed to Singapore’s Pulverised Records and that is a good indication that not much has changed as far as the intensity level is concerned. Years have come and gone but the blackened ones are still crushing the gathered with a thematic album with titles like Death’s Crown, Dead Seed, Death Throes and Alongside Death.
Alongside Death actually begins by giving the fans the wrong impression. Not that the rest of the album is not brutal, but the first two tracks - On The Descent To Hell and Death’s Crown - are fast songs that give the impression that the group wants to compete in the speed arena. Surprisingly, that is not the case. It all begins to get slower and more pounding from there on. The remaining six songs are akin to Marduk’s slower songs, Darkthrone or early Satyricon. The vocals are harsh and grim, although the very best part is when Bragman screams his tormented larynx with torture and vile. The beginning of Fleshless is a prime example. In fact, speaking of the vocals, the band has worked in many nice touches and backing voices into most songs. The Wrath From beneath is the only weak point with its unnecessary ambience, although Death Throes has such a part in its middle as well.
The last point concerns the album’s cover artwork. Does it not look like the thematic and design opposite of Candlemass’ self-titled record from 2005? - Anna Tergel