From a black morass to a black mass, BESATT's “Sacrifice For Satan” sounds downright murky compared to this latest offering. They have cleaned up their sound considerably on this album and though Black Metal often benefits from a bit of fog, here the relatively crystal clear delivery has in fact proved beneficial.
“Black Mass” is even faster than the previous album for much of the time, but there is some hobbled diversification demonstrated as well. The main difference is in the clarity, the riffs seem lighter and often evoke a black sky split by continuous lightening bolts, especially on the faster numbers. The lickety split flicker of the guitar is further enhanced by brief firestorms of fret strangling solos that burn brightly for mere seconds before fleeting out of existence. The reduced emphasis (but enhanced effectiveness,) of the guitar has allowed the bass to come further to the fore, it tonks along like the lowest keys on a grand piano, the roundness slightly flattened off.
Amongst the blazers are a couple of slower numbers, “Suicidal Ritual” is a dirge like drag through the cemetery which isn't quite funereal enough bit still isn't a dead dog. The second is “Son Of Pure Viking Blood,” this is a tribute to Quorthon and is something of a Viking Metal ballad that rather faithfully pays homage to the man. It is a semi acoustic anthem that strangely doesn't seem out of place here, after all BESATT could have easily gone for some of the more raucous legacy that BATHORY left behind.
It’s the nitrous injected tracks that BESATT excel at though, the simple changes they have made have lifted them a tier and as far as speed driven Metal goes I can't find fault with it. Album closers “Towards The Abyss” and “Demoniacal Possession” will blister paint as they charge to a breathless ending. Of course, a large part of this is down to the drumming which blasts relentlessly virtually throughout. I know such blindingly fast skin abuse isn't the be all and end all but here it just fits in with the arc weld retina searing brightness of the riffs. The final track is one of those barnstormer album closers that are right up my street and, in itself, would be in my top 20 favourite songs of the year. All the elements fit together, the sodium fizz, bonkers drumming, skittering lead break and surging build to the end just make this a cracker.
Lots of people complain about this form of Black Metal, sometimes with good reason. If you are going to practise it, then if the execution is akin to what BESATT have achieved on “Black Mass,” there will be no gripes from me. I'd avoid playing it in your car stereo though, remember kids, speed kills.
(Online December 14, 2006)