Including members of Nekrokrist SS (apparently not political) this is a debut and its country of origin couldn’t be in doubt. Beginning with a gunshot in ‘Bleed’ we are flung straight into a Finnish whirlwind of tumultuous riffing and that weird winding sense of melody that at a wrist flick can turn from epic melancholy into feral throat ripping. It’s a damned impressive opening, a full on veteran sound assault.

I’ll probably catch a bit of flak here but ‘Iron Claws Of Black Metal’, despite the difference in the vocals, is initially pure Sargeist; that aching, arching melody and dip into lower keys…. But, wait, there is an almost black ‘n’ roll touch to the breakdown, a crankshaft of overdriven power that pushes aside that melancholy into a serious mauling. The drums are direct, the vocals rabid but the touch of the band is sure and full of feeling.

‘Fuck your Faith’ kind of tells you straight out what the feelings here are. It has to be said this is a darned hateful album. Misanthropy drips from drooling jaws. It actually drops the pace just a touch, only for the vocals to step up even more, and again manages that teetering on black n roll feel just below the surface.

With tracks with titles like ‘Deep In the Ground’, ‘No Mercy After Sunset’, ‘Murder Yourself’ and ‘By Your Own Hands’ you can see the hate here is flung around internally and externally. ‘Murder Yourself’ in particular is disturbingly catchy, in a black metal way. Suicide is a thread running through here which I gather leaks over from the other band, but this is not DSBM, this is raw, dark, dank black metal in the Finnish way. They rail, they thrash, they can put the hammer down quickly and surefooted and then plunge into the grey, grim melody just as swiftly so, yeah, Gloom are clearly comfortable both with each other and the sound they are entrenched in.

The title track closes out the album in typical fashion; again this is good stuff: Its own identity in the album, but no deviation from the intrinsic sound herein albeit with a lovely little NWOBHM tinged midsection. Turbulent as ever but most definitely directed.

In the end this album does exactly what it sets out to do. This is raw, melodic and violent black metal poured into the Finnish mould and left to seethe. Some may say it is no more than that, but equally it is a fine example to hold up for the sound. It kicks in the door, screams in your face, wrecks your hovel and leaves. Job done. Good stuff indeed.

(8/10 Gizmo)