I confess I had to look up what the qliphoth is, and now know it is a representation of evil or impure forces in Jewish mysticism. The evil and impure part of this is not so surprising when you consider that Myronath, from the forests of Sweden, have links with Marduk.

Dark and imperious is how this starts. Evil, creepy beginnings soon morph into rapid fire, nasty black metal. The drums go off at a fair lick, as we are mercilessly hammered into the ground. Warfare and hatred are inbuilt. It’s well produced so the output resonates clearly. It soon becomes clear that the strength of this work is in its vivid, violent and dark portrayals of “the Other Side”, as the band put in, and not into something avant-garde or innovative. But the structure, developments and delivery are so good that each passage has great impact. Moreover many of those passages are pulsating and both delight and drag us along, as happens in the imperious “Ravensphere”. This isn’t fury for the sake of itself but a controlled and continuous collection of black atmospheres. “Lady of Golgotha” had a little touch of Immortal, I felt. Between the drums and guitar work it’s as if we’re being taken to the abyss. “The Awakening” passed me by a bit, although it has the trademark authority. I preferred the more evolving and epic rancidness of the pulsating and powerful “In the Shadow of the Crown”. Croaking vocals and evocative guitar work take us into a black metal ether – the track builds up and is frankly inspirational. The dark energy rolls into the equally exhilarating “La Santa Muerte”, a track which ends ghoulishly. “Hymn to Lucifer” is just that: it starts with a choral chant. Much has gone into the mix to create interest and enhance the atmosphere, which has the violence of black metal, yet also has great subtlety and spirituality. From the hymn, we go to the terrifying tones of “Annihilation of the Crescent Moon”, a rip-roaring and ferocious piece of melodic black metal to finish.

“Into the Qliphoth” is a seriously good black metal album by a band of seriously accomplished musicians. There are no gimmicks and yet this is not a replication of old school metal. Every ounce of production and imagination is put into this enthralling and engaging work.

(9/10 Andrew Doherty)