VANQUISHED - BLACK NORTHERN STORM - KRANKENHAUS
Like the true northern gust with nary a warning Canada's Vanquished assails the senses with its new full-length, the appropriately named Black Northern Storm. The album is everything the band and label promise - well almost. This is pure, unrepentant, dark and evil (bears statement given how the sub-genre has been polluted by a bunch of Norwegian and Finnish poseurs) black metal in the vein of Darkthrone, Tsjuder, early Immortal and Dark Funeral. The band's genuine black metal is a breath of fresh (and frigid) air in a scene stuck in reverse and muddled by keyboard-laden wimp rock. Vanquished cares naught. This is music for the dark of soul and the soulless.
Where the publicity has to be disputed is in describing the recording as "hi-fi" or "clean and crisp." That, thankfully, is not true. Moreover, the band's description of itself as "Northern Ontario Black Metal" is both misleading and ironic. North Bay, while north of the major metropolitan areas is in the southern half of Ontario. Although the band is clearly more 'northern' than most others with this claim to fame. More importantly, metal is music that transcends language, culture, economic or ethnic barriers. To have an ethnic or disuniting element to any sub-genre of heavy metal is cynical. Finally, the last two tracks with their tiresome sound effects are rather worthless for all concerned.
All in all, Vanquished is everything an admirable black metal band should be. Songs like Left behind or the start of Ascendancy Of The Boreal Wake prove this. - Ali "The Metallian"