Posted on January 12, 2010 -
I’m not the first person to say that re-recording an undisputed classic album is a risky move, especially when nearly every fan states that this album was the apex of the band. (But kudos to the gentlemen for having a legitimate reason to do this, not just as money-making tool.) Fortunately, Shagrath and Silenoz had their heads on straight when this idea ran amok inside their heads. The re-recording of this album doesn’t seem forced or rushed in any way, and in my humble opinion, it came off far better than I ever expected.
I’ll start with the positive. Obviously, the production is much thicker, and the sound is huge and epic. The guitars cut, the drums pack a walloping punch, and the synths add a nice background touch. Shagrath’s vocals are different here, but work perfectly. (Is it me, or does he sound more black metal than ever here?)Moments when the original album seemed to drag are now gone and have been replaced by adequately speeding up the tempo. Much of the CD seems more active than before, and there is not a lick of hum-drum plodding to be found. Hey, some of the songs have even been partially re-written, or the guitars have many hidden melodies to be found. Overall, it seems deeper than the original.
But alas, there are some downfalls as well. Many of the original keyboard and piano parts composed by DB’s former keyboardist are now gone. (Many people are angry over the omission of the intro for “Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen”, which now consists of a few seconds of rain sounds.) The atmosphere is still here, and even a few things have been added, such as the choir on “Dodsferd”. Some of Hellhammer’s drum parts are too dazzling for their own good, though I was surprised that he actually decided to stick to the songs rather than make everything a total wankfest.
However, the good outweighs the bad. My personal favorite from the original Stormblast, “Vinder Fra En Ensom Grav” is now beyond what I dreamt it would be. This recording still oozes with emotion and atmosphere. The classic title track is now more melodic, and the more plodding moments of the album have been filled with beautiful melodic guitar solos that were amiss on the original. “Da Den Kristne Satte Livet Till” is now the black metal anthem that it strived to be, and “Gud’s Fortalepse- Apenbaring ov Dommedag” has turned into the melodic yet apocalyptic frenzy which it was meant to be. All of the other tracks are beautiful and will exceed any naysayer’s premonitions.
The new tracks are pretty good as well. “Avmaktslave” explodes with bombastic choirs and flurrying tremolo picking, and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the band’s debut album. “Sorgens Kammer- Del II” is one of the most eerie things DB has done. Clean guitars resonate throughout the song, and guve a feeling of dread and paranoia. Even though the song is simplistic and quite repetitive, the atmosphere is so terrifying that you won’t notice. Shagrath’s venomous and distorted vocals sound the most evil they ever have in all his years, and the sound effects in the background make the song seem very vivid and real.
Overall, I think this is one of the band’s greatest acheivements, albeit a ballsy one. Diehards will dismiss the clean production and speed, but for those who wanted something more out of the original, this is your chance to witness one of the greatest BM albums of the 90’s the way it was meant to be.