Under That Spell - Black Sun Zenith

Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This band name is just begging to get made fun of. You could go the Venom route if you’re one of those rare, true fans who has Calm Before the Storm and can randomly quote it. Or I personally think The Little Mermaid is the way to go as it’s funnier and meaner (I’ll let you figure that one on out your own). However, the band name is the only thing you’ll be chuckling about here, because these sour krauts fucking rule. Talk about a Black Metal band that can do it all. This is amazing stuff. Blasting that makes Dark Funeral seem slow, enveloped in pure depressive hatred. If ever there were a hymn penned for the goddess named Negativity, “Haunted” would most certainly be it. Take Immortal’s grim and frostbitten fury entwined with Emperor’s sense of majesty, and don’t forget to call on Dissection’s melodic genius at will. The song “Zenith” actually made it snow in my house. It was that bleak! The completely non-Billy Joel related “I Set the Fire” is another work of sheer brilliance. A waltz between despondent pagan melodies and the aforementioned Emperor at their most witching. These guys invoke the power of the elder gods with apparent ease, and even manage to give it their own miserable spin. Some moments even recall vintage Ulver, long before the fateful LSD trip that destroyed their songwriting ability. Unfortunately Under That Spell aren’t always as great as the sum of their parts. “Sinister Circle” and “I Complete” are a bit of a bore and the instrumental acoustic segue, “Redemption,” could be argued as filler. But the album ends on a glorious note with the suicidal melodies of “Sun” followed by a similarly poignant outro. This band may not be the most original zenith under the black sun, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more convincingly passionate Black Metal LP performed with such a high level of talent.

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