Black Metal, as a definition, is definitely a question of taste. There are so many music styles out there labeled Black Metal, that it really comes to the question of ideology and attitude rather than the actual music, when the various scenes of various ages compare each other’s music, often in a very competitive (musical-fascist) way. There are people who say that playing skills are not important in Black Metal, and it’s all about the atmosphere the music summons. There are also those who say the same about the overall production and soundscapes of the music, often meaning “the crappier the better” (authentic). And there are those who have nothing against decent playing skills and listenable production, on the contrary, even in a such a violent music style as Black Metal.
With this their first release, Mädäntyneen Jumalan Silmä (from Finland) falls somewhere between the two opposites of minimalistic and low-fi atmospheres and well-produced quality. The band consists of unknown musicians (to me), with the exception of one member with whom I have done similar kind of (but not as good) music in the past.
What strikes to me the most about the music is the fact it mostly seems to be coming straight from the nineties (my favourite decade of Black Metal of course), and even more so straight from this very country. There were a few bands around here which managed to sound original (in the sense they didn’t totally copy the Norse bands), altho pretty minimalist and low-fi, bands like Nidhoggr. Still, there are also a few Norse-sounding (at least to my ears) parts in the songs, mainly in the form of melodies resembling (very simple) versions of for example “For All Tid” or “Written In Waters”, but these parts could also be compared to some other more modern stuff by someone else. However, the main pulse of the music comes from the (relatively) slow blast-beats, dragging and Doomy parts, and almost (old) Gorgoroth-like rocking vibes. When talking of minimalist aggression and groove, even stuff like classic Hellhammer comes to my mind at times when listening to these riffs.
The performance of all the instruments on these recordings (which were recorded live somewhere in northern Finland if I’ve understood correctly) is not bad, altho nothing special either. The sounds of the tracks making these songs are definitely not of high quality per se, but nevertheless mixed in a way which makes the end result sound truly clear yet hateful, aggressive, and dark. Most importantly: it sounds above else like genuine Black Metal. The riffs and the arrangements of the songs are quite minimalistic, yet handled with enough precision like a quality live-performance (which it apparently is). The vocals are quite original, bringing to my mind a more “masculine” (not so whining) version of classic Burzum, being nothing too special, but still giving the overall atmospheres of the band a unique-enough touch. The lyrics apparently deal mostly about subjects such as disappointment, despair, nihilism, misanthropy and so on, being as in-your-face as the music itself.
This release offers about 18 minutes (four songs, plus an intro and an outro) of extremely hard hitting, violently pounding and massively sounding traditional Black Metal with a strong nod to the Scandinavian sounds of the nineties, and with some more “modern” artistic and avantgardish elements. A recommended new band to be checked out, for all fans of straightforward and gritty classic Black Metal. Released as 66 copies, the Tape can be obtained from the band itself.