OndfodtOndfødt, not to be mixed up with Ondskapt or other similar-sounding bands, are from Finland. Listening to “Hexkonst”, they have spent their time listening to and absorbing black metal from Norway and Sweden.

The heartbeat and majestic gloom which opens the album is just a prequel to a black metal hymn. “Blodspill” has a straightforward, pounding riff. Razor-sharp, sparks fly, the vocalist rasps and the guitar blazes away in the manner of old school Darkthrone and the like. The drummer sets out a murderous pace. It’s nasty and hypnotic. “Faensgyte” seemed to have less purpose but can’t be ignored for its fast, furious and anarchic qualities. The over-the-top screams of “Kristi Fanskap” are worthy of early Burzum. It needs a fiery wall and has one. Those screams become more demented. Meanwhile, the instruments set about punching our brains out. This rolls into “Giganternes Braal” whose continuing vibration is enough to shake us off our moorings. A joint chorus is lofty and momentarily uplifting but this seems to be more about battering us into submission in an extremely violent and deranged way. The vocalist now sounds like a baying wolf. The guitarist is sharp. The drums fires bullets … rapidly.

Walls continue to come down. The outlook is frosty and bleak. The track “Hexkonst” is a bit less manic than previous efforts. It’s no less loud though, but it slows down and the guitar trumpets malevolence which the vocalist accompanies in tones of unadulterated hatred and anguish. “Berlden Er Min Slakteri” brings on another change of scene as the pace is stepped up. The drum leads the charge. The customary hatred is delivered at speed. It’s raw black metal. The mechanical constancy is reminiscent of Khold. After a blood-curdling scream, we’re off again. There’s a break, and the fury intensifies on “Midvintermarsch”. The controlled and melodic thrashing anarchy is faster than ever. It’s dirty, nasty and coldly defiant as black metal should be. A deep, dark and sophisticated solo follows to remind us who’s in charge. The vocalist plants his ghastly imprint. We would be there but finally we hear the classical tone of an old piano sounding as if it is in a grey, crumbling and fusty room. It’s unexpected and slightly unnerving after all the preceding violence. I’m not sure about its effectiveness.

Leaving aside the last track, which was out of character, “Hexkonst” is strong stuff. Ondfødt don’t mess about. I liked the defiance, the power and the misanthropic energy – good black metal in other words.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)