An interesting fact that I picked up while checking out the background to this album was that Novarupta’s instigator contributed to Terra Tenebrosa’s excellent album “The Reverses”. As some people decide to take up running or learn a language for a new challenge, the foundation of Novarupta was triggered by depression, frustration and a need to explore a deeper and darker musical direction. Collaborating on this album are many fellow Swedes from other bands, among them Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne on, appropriately enough, “Mare Tranquillitas”.

But first the scene is set with the most atmospheric and apocalyptically dark “Stones”. It has the driving pungency of a Cult of Luna track. “Pyroclastic Flows” is quieter, which brings out its depressive nature. A hefty roar rudely disturbs the delicate post rock ring before the track heads towards a harsh and impressive oblivion. Light meets dark but don’t expect to find any salvation in the light. Maintaining the sludgy feel, “Tumskruvar” is at first like being dragged through a bramble bush. There are indistinct voices, which make this unnerving. Most disturbing of all is the quiet and repetitive guitar tune. The faint sound of a small choir can be heard. The drum beats doomily like a heart. “Tumskruvar” paints a picture of a gloomy life, but that is the norm here. More blackened sludge follows with “Mare Tranquillitas”. Stanne growls away but it’s the hypnotic post metal coldness that created the biggest impact for me. It’s like a heavy, dispassionate, fiery, chugging engine. It’s back through the brambles again with the crushingly dense “Only The Dirt Will Know Our Graves”. The musicianship is ominous and leaden-heavy, while the screams suggest agony and suffering. The vocals take a different tack on “Ourang Medan” as Domkraft’s Martin Wegeland lends his clean but distant cries to another heavy and imperious piece. The impact is big, as it has been throughout this album.

Punishment meets atmosphere. Through the medium of heavy sludge, we are treated to a world of pain. And highly impressive this “Disillusioned Fire” is too.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)