Here’s a nice coincidence; I bought the limited cassette run version of this on spec a while back just because I liked the name, and it’s now getting a CD release. I still know very little about the band other than they appear to be a two piece from Birmingham and one of them is ex-Cancer apparently. The cover is a classical style bit of glorious artwork. Sorry, I’m ignorant of that style of art so couldn’t tell you if it’s period or new but it immediately calls to mind the grandiose Viking period of Bathory.I

‘Ammut: Devourer Of The Dead’ blasts out the opening with a ferocious early Immortal taste to the full blooded riffing, but more fire than frost. The vocals snarl and growl with a pleasing variety and when the riff parts briefly that Bathory sound, the sparse melody, rings through. It’s a cracking little opener. The production is functional, lending a rounded but old school feel and the whole thing has a feeling of real intensity and nice composition. ‘Witch Daughters Of The Circle’ has a great melody line to the lead run, a very Norwegian scene one to me, but, regardless by now Arrogant Destruktor push their own personality through. They know how to change pace both between songs and within songs to add light and shade. A touch of death metal creeps in to bolster things particularly with the slower to mid paced riffs. Everything just feels right here.

‘War Commander’ breaks things down even more, descending into Venom and Slayer and even Discharge territory with the vocals and sparse guitar runs between the riffs and there is a stunning almost folky passage too. ‘Hidden In Hollow Earth’ returns to a denser feel, again with a great catchy riff and excellent timing shifts. ‘Chapels Of Dust’ again uses shouted rather than growled vocals in a Venom/Celtic Frost style and the riff is just a lovely dirty old school black metal drive into a feral snarl. ‘Born Of Mountain Mysticism’, the closer, even has a real groove to it, a bit of swagger before the icy riff cuts down and the song gallops away. Oh yeah and that almost folk melody break is just superb. Would be fantastic live.

By now what you have is an obviously talented and thoughtful outfit: There is something about the density of the sound and the variation in vocal styles which seems unconsciously very British, that underlying flavour of a punk sound here and there beneath the old school black metal attack and the occasional death metal surge. My favourite song, ‘Hidden In Hollow Earth’ has all this for me, a shivering melody line too and a great rumbling extra gear. Two demos and a split in just about five years they have come out in their debut with a fine, nasty, and very muscular sound.

Thoroughly recommend this, and it will be interesting to see if they have any intentions of expanding their line-up and bringing it to the stage.

Old school, forward looking British black metal. Seriously worth your while.

 (8/10 Gizmo)