Calvarium - The Skull of Golgotha
Dynamic Arts Records
Black Metal
9 songs (40'22")
Release year: 2002
Dynamic Arts Records
Reviewed by Alex

Calvarium has a perfect play on words going for them. Calvary is, of course, the hill around Jerusalem where Jesus Christ met his demise, also known as Golgotha. It is also an emotional state where one suffers intense mental agony. Calvarium, anatomically, is the portion of the skull which encases one’s brain, basically everything above the lower jaw. Given that the album title is The Skull of Golgotha and the very intention of Calvarium, the band, is to pulverize Christ’s skull to dust, we have a perfect prelude to a black metal album.

Starting from the chains and torture chamber of Three Nails and the Hammer of Satan intro Calvarium don’t really choose a path totally unknown. The sinister roads once traveled by Marduk and Dark Funeral are revisited by Calvarium, plus the melody infusion so common these days in Finnish Black Metal. With the album production where guitar radiates the sounds like it has been touched by 2,000 V of electricity the band is really trying to leave nothing in its wake including the listener’s senses. Periodically and very deliberately Calvarium lets a little bit of the tough persona go away and for certain amount of melodic groove to creep in.

Early songs, Horns of Hate and, especially, Jumalviha are the most magical. Doomy, stretchy riffs of Jumalviha and its demonic melodic progressions invoke the feeling of utter reverence. Horns of Hate and Siunatun Surma empower and instill the spirit of prevalence, Calvarium music floating above Heaven, Hell and ordinary human species. Molestor Kadotus’ firebreathing vocals, with very few spoken moments (Jumalviha), are a perfect compliment to these evil marches. Lord Sarcofagian blasts all over Hell, switches back’n’forth to double bass and even tries multiple rhythms and flailing cymbals in Morbid Hordes Revenge.

Where the band is trying to sound convincingly nasty, as in Dedication in Misanthropy, the title being very fitting, the album begins to grate a little and I can see how not completely devoted aficionados can call this ear-rape. The spirit is recaptured towards the end in Suicide Manifesto, another slower track which sounds like a closing statement.

The legendary, but true, story has it 6 hours before Calvarium had to enter the studio to record The Skull of Golgotha it caught on fire because of an electrical malfunction. Had it been 6 hours 6 minutes and 6 seconds, the band could have claimed Satan himself tried their perseverance. Calvarium legions certainly take this stuff seriously. Maybe too seriously, which makes the band force their sound to be completely kvlt, too trOO and entirely murderous. Instead, a tad of added originality and more of those devouring reverence moments would have elevated Calvarium all the way up from the second tier. The EP follow-up to The Skull of Golgotha is out and I would recommend Black Metal fans get both discs.

Killing Songs :
Horns of Hate, Jumalviha, Siunatun Surma, Suicide Manifesto
Alex quoted 74 / 100
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