Friday, October 14, 2011

Setherial - Lords of the Nightrealm (1998)

Lords of the Nightrealm is the sophomore effort from Sweden's masters of mimicry, Setherial. While their first record was clearly intended to carry on the style that Emperor utilized on In the Nightside Eclipse, the band set their sights a little closer to home, the second time around. Their new heroes seemed to be Dark Funeral. The abomination that resulted, in early 1998, was a pathetic tenth-rate copy of the material on The Secrets of the Black Arts, so bad that it made Vobiscum Satanas sound like a serious album.

The production is overdone, for a Black Metal release. Everything is clear and well-defined, with every generic riff coming through with remarkable clarity. It definitely sounds more polished than their last offering, though that one hardly boasted an underground production, in the first place. The riffs have absolutely no power and the drumming has an annoying 'clicky' quality. This album is oozing with the filth of modernity, from the horrible sound to the awful material.

Musically, this is terribly uninspiring. The members of Setherial are, obviously, capable musicians. On a practical level, there is no question regarding whether or not they can handle their instruments. The problem is that they are unable to think for themselves; i.e. all of their material is highly derivative of other bands, without a single shred of original thought added into the mix. When they were composing the songs that would become Nord, Emperor was rather popular. Following this, Dark Funeral had become a trendy band within the Black Metal scene, so they did their best to imitate them instead. Even worse, they were unable to do a convincing job. One has to wonder about the possibility of them obtaining an advance copy of Vobiscum Satanas, as this actually sounds more like a copy of that album than of Dark Funeral's debut L.P. This record is filled with double-bass drums that dominate the sound, weak and generic guitar riffs and comical vocals that try so hard to sound evil and diabolical, but come off as cheesy and cartoonish.

Lords of the Nightrealm is an absolute waste of time. Anyone that thinks this is the epitome of Black Metal must have just discovered the sub-genre within the past week or so. There is nothing on here that ranks above mediocre, at best, and the level of plagiarism is painful. Setherial is and always has been a joke. Avoid this at all costs.