Ovate announce their arrival on the ever evolving black metal scene with their eponymous debut album, boasting a veritable smorgasbord of guest artists from the Norwegian black metal community, and making a bold statement as they trample across sub-genre boundaries. Based around the founding duo of Aindiachaí (Guitars/Bass) and Brodd (Drums), Ovate stampede their way through five epic tracks with guests Hoest (Taake & Gorgoroth), V’gandr (Helheim & Taake), Eld (Krakow & Aeternus & Gravdal), Ese (Slegest) and Ødemark (The 3rd Attempt) all lending their  vocal talents.

Album opener ‘Morgenstjerne’ begins with chants to a drum beat before launching into a black ’n roll-esque sonic freight train. A brief interlude slows things down before the closing portion of the track kicks in, which is much slower with clean vocals and hypnotic beats.

Second track ‘Song til ein orm’ picks up the pace again with an abrasive edge as the album gathers momentum before the black ’n roll edge comes to the fore again on ‘Illhug’ setting the tone for the rest of the album with galloping rhythms and guitar melodies broken up but venomous vocals.

This continues with a vengeance on ‘Illhug’ before the fifth and final track ‘Inst I tanken’. Clocking in at over nine minutes this opus gives Ovate the change to morph between styles and tempos before coming to a close with a pagan twist to the music.

This album is a breath of fresh air and while having lots of energy it manages to maintain a gnarly edge. I’m sure these tracks will sound great live and I’ll be doing my best to catch Ovate live soon.

(8/10 Andy Pountney)