Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - Mardom
War Anthem Records
Black Metal
10 songs (43:55)
Release year: 2019
Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, War Anthem Records
Reviewed by Goat

German war machine Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult have been hammering out Satanic anthems since 1997, honing their sound to razor sharpness. They're decidedly old-school in style with influences notable from a variety of areas - you could describe them as a less epic Emperor, a less raw Darkthrone, a less icy Immortal... Fine, it's not the most experimental take on black metal that you'll ever hear but it is competent and compelling, and the band are blessed to have an absolute banshee in frontwoman/guitarist Onielar (also of Bethlehem) just one element of many that helps make Mardom as good as it is. Her uncanny shriek is excellent, like few other vocalists in the scene (female or male, as tempting as it might be to just compare her to, say, Arkona's Masha Scream) and it more than leads the music well. The rest of the band are more than talented enough to round things out, particularly drummer Horrn who has tech-death experience and shows it with his blast-heavy but skilful battery, yet both Onielar and second guitarist Velnias have talent at cranking out the riffs, the likes of A Sweven Most Devout setting a galloping pace.

The weakest moments present are actually when the band stray too far from their black metal core, atmospheric intro and interlude pieces like Inception of Atemporal Transition and Widma good enough for what they are but hardly vital elements of the album (and in the latter's case, far too long). The creepy rattling laugh that Onielar opens first track proper Mardom - Echo Zmory with is more than enough to set an unsettling scene! Dips into slower tempos such as that which opens A Beseechment Twofold have their own pleasures, the band's ESL song titles helping to give the impression that they're preaching a very obscure Satanic lore. But Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult are best when blasting along like Absu on meth, as the tremendously-titled T.O.W.D.A.T.H.A.B.T.E shows (standing for The One Who Dwells Above The Heavens And Below The Earth, of course!) leaning into melody in its latter half in an almost Ukrainian style before turning back on itself and near black n' rolling out into a headbangable storm that isn't afraid to include a downright punky bass-led breakdown.

The band keep the quality level up throughout the album, late tracklist cuts like The Boundless Beast just as intense and enjoyable with some eerie male wordless vocals adding an extra layer of gloom, while Imperishable Soulless Gown is amongst the most crushing and violent tracks present. You could say that Mardom is a solid rather than outstanding album, and indeed there's nothing present that pushes black metal onwards and outwards - yet Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult have earned more than enough respect over their two decade-plus career to make them black metal lifers, and any fans of the genre will find much to set the juices flowing here.

Killing Songs :
A Sweven Most Devout, T.O.W.D.A.T.H.A.B.T.E, A Beseechment Twofold
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult that we have reviewed:
Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - Hora Nocturna reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
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