The symbiotic relationship between Norway and black metal is one that has existed for about 30 years and still continues to produce quality bands and if you go to the Inferno festival in Oslo you can certainly vouch for my statement as the raft of new acts that continue to emerge from the country shows no abating as yet another top rate act releases their second album of primeval sonic murderousness.

There is no watery intro piece to this sophomore offering by Djevelkult, the album detonates with “Atomic Holocaust” a ferocious savage opener; nihilistic in intent the blasting is cataclysmic as the riffing has a caustic delivery alongside the deathly like vocals that have a slight echo in places with the harsher tones that accompany them. As the song progresses it eventually relinquishes the speed for a bass riff and guitar riff break that is reminiscent of Carpathian Forest and some barbaric vocal grimacing that possess an acerbic icy gruesomeness. Whilst the opener sets the scene of being aural destruction the follower “Condemned Into Eternal Void” tempers the speed with a tormented riff and vocal display that is funereal with a despondent guitar melody that sits astride a suicidal aura and tortured howling vocal before diverting into a double kick strafing where lead break desolation is peppered into the track almost unnoticed but is perfectly positioned.

This album shifts around in mood continually utilising speed extremely well and it is that ability to send the songs from apical Armageddon to nadiral melancholy that make it such an enthralling listen as “En Ny Tid” begins like an avalanche but then switches to a despondent and bleak injection of riffing that alternates with blast phases that I liked so much. The inauspicious start to “Døpt I Helvetesild” belies the magnificent riff that appears within its malevolent ranks that is wholly vicious reeking of old school black metal rancidity that continues into “Vredeskvad” and links with those fluxing tempo changes I have already banged on about, but in this track the guitar will etch into your mind with such corrosiveness it will be there permanently.

Closing the album is the title track, which translates to “As The Abyss Opens”, and begins with a fantastic emotive riff and a powerful drumming foundation. Yet again it is the transformational song writing that shines like an obsidian diamond as the bands ability to modify the song through several facets of pace and riffs with the vocals animatedly acidic leading to a catchy riff break that is borderline heavy metal to my ears. Linking it to a fine penetrating lead break is exquisite as the track pauses to reveal a sombre side that has a pagan like quality that sees it gathering momentum towards its finale which has a beautiful solo that will give you goose bumps, I kid you not; well it did me. This is a masterful album with staggering musicality and passionate song writing, venomous, malevolent yet poignant and grief-stricken in equal proportions it is classic black metal and is utterly essential for all black metal fans.

(9/10 Martin Harris)