MorDagorHaving signed to Osmose Productions late last year, war-obsessed German metallers Mor Dagor have just released their 5th album ‘Redeemer’, and without a doubt, it’s one of the most exciting bombardments of blackened death metal to assault the ears in quite some time.

It may lack the frost-bitten approach of bands such as Eastern Front and Endstille, but Mor Dagor’s depth-charge riffing admirably suits their battle-worn subject matter, and may hopefully launch them into further victories.

The fact that drummer Torturer used to play for Belphegor should come as no surprise here as ‘Redeemer’ carries a distinct taste of those Austrian deviants, as well as a healthy ration of Marduk at their best, and armed with top notch production from Andy Classen, Mor Dagor make good on their claim of “No Mercy”.

From the opening shot of the title track to the final explosion of ‘God of Gods, Destroyer of Worlds’, this album hits like a juggernaut. The guitars chug and dive-bomb their way through impeccably deployed blast beats and Deicide style black/death overlaid vocals, and fuzz bass leads us into ‘Industrial Homicide’ as the riffs scream through like a passing convoy. The track ‘No Mercy’ reminds us that there is “No place to run, no place to hide”.

There is a devastatingly effective “de-tuning” style employed to some of the riffs in ‘Message of Salvation’ and ‘z.238’, but it’s in the instrumental track ‘Peace Through Superior Firepower’ that it leaves the greatest impression. While it’s not often that an instrumental is singled out as a highlight, but  the sounds of radiation and sombre radio commentary, and the wail of air raid sirens combined with a crushingly slow grinding riff, makes this track extremely powerful. Wow!

Schmied’s vocals re-emerge Satyr-like in ‘Accuser’ as the double kick battery gives way to a Watain-esque mid section, and the stabby riffing of ‘Field of Demise’ stops just long enough to give us a brief moment of fuzz bass respite.

‘Scorched Earth’ shimmers with a darker, and more pained spoken-word vocal style, before the punctuated heart beat of drums and agitation of guitars leaves us facing the sounds of destruction in Mor Dagor’s final delivery on the album.

Annihilation never sounded so good!

If a black/death metal album about war, death and destruction can be classed as entertainment, then Mor Dagor’s ‘Redeemer’ is as successful a campaign as any I’ve heard, and for that I salute them.

(8.5/10 Stuart Carroll)