Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mütiilation - Hail Satanas We Are The Black Legions (1994)

After releasing a couple of poorly-produced demos, Mütiilation returned in 1994 with their first 7" E.P. Independently released, Hail Satanas We Are the Black Legions featured the best sound that the band had achieved to that point, or possibly ever. Not only was the production much clearer than before, but it seemed that the band members had become more confident in their abilities and the playing was much more competent as well, though retaining the raw feeling from before.

Shortly after discovering Mütiilation, through the Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul release, I managed to get my hands on all of the previous material as well. Luckily, I had a connection that enabled me to obtain original copies of the cassette demos and the 7" in question. Outside of the obvious impression that songs like "Suffer the Gestalt" had on me, the material presented on this E.P. quickly grabbed my attention.

"Desecrate Jesus Name" begins with a memorable riff that is soon accompanied by drums and a tormented scream. Immediately, one recording flaw is apparent as the drums are a bit too high in the mix. However, this is not too difficult to ignore. The riffs are mostly thrash-inspired, yet still possessing a rather sombre feeling. The vocals add to this, as well. One can also detect some influence from Bathory and Burzum, though it is not incredibly overpowering.

The next song is "Remembrance of My Past Battles and Times" which contains a mixture of the sorrowful thrash riffs, as well as the typical tremolo-picked melodies that defined much of the Second Wave of Black Metal. This is raw and primitive, yet creates more of a depressing atmosphere than anything truly evil or hellish.

"Black Wind of War" may be one of the most recognizable tunes ever created by this band. The song begins with another mid-paced thrash riff, with vocals of pure howling misery. Meyhna'ch was certainly losing what little sanity he possessed, by this point. As the song progresses, tremolo riffs and blasting drums are introduced, but this is definitely not where the song shines. The slower parts are where the band is most able to create the atmosphere of despair and hopelessness that characterized so many of their works, and this is evident here. As the E.P. reaches its conclusion, nothing is left but a woeful melody being carried on the winds of desolation.

Mütiilation's career can be split into two parts, with the first consisting of the material up through Remains..., This is the one that really defines the band for me, and Hail Satanas We Are the Black Legions is an integral part of this era, and is a strong representation of what they were trying to achieve. While most newer fans are more aware of the later output, you should seek out the early stuff to get a better idea of what this band was all about.