Saturday, October 17, 2015

Satanic Warmaster - ...Of the Night (2004)

...Of the Night is one of the very best recordings from Satanic Warmaster. Released in 2004, this E.P. features only two tracks yet clocks in at over twenty minutes. The material presented here is built upon the themes established on Opferblut, then expanded to create something more epic. The end result is a very strong offering from this Finnish Black Metal band.

From the opening chords of the title track, an atmosphere of melancholy unfolds. There is a cold, nocturnal feeling that is carried forth, very much suiting the title of the song. After a minute or so, a haunting tremolo melody emerges from the darkness and freezes the blood in your veins. This is the sort of riff that has hardly been heard since the era of classic Burzum. With the production's focus on highlighting the guitars, there is nothing to hinder the eerie and sombre effect of these brilliant melodies. The repetition also works well to create a somewhat hypnotic feeling. About halfway through, the song shifts from unsettling darkness to a very mournful and grievous vibe that is reminiscent of "A Raven's Song", from Opferblut. "Chronicles of Thy Astral Blood" does well to follow up on this, consisting of mid-paced drumming and melancholic riffs accompanied by tormented screams. Again, one can sense the shadow of Count Grishnackh hovering over the cold winter landscape; however, this results from a discernable influence rather than the outright plagiarism that some bands attempted. 

It is safe to say that ...Of the Night is the second best release from Satanic Warmaster, ranking just under Opferblut. Though has Werwolf chosen to craft an entire full-length in this style, it may have even surpassed the aforementioned album as the greatest of his works. While later records were often questionable or inconsistent, this one hits the mark and is recommended listening for those into raw and mournful Finnish Black Metal.