Debemur Morti Productions
Black Metal
11 songs (47:21)
Release year: 2009
Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Tony

One thing I greatly appreciate about MR readers, reviewers, and forumites is that there is a general appreciation for Black Metal. Those who don't prefer it wouldn't badmouth it even though it is a deeply controversial and a very difficult genre to get into. Those of us initiated in Black Metal seem to be well versed in our discussions on the forum, and everyone seems to know good Black Metal when they hear it.

Sweden is more known for its Melodic Death Metal than anything else, but there are a few phenomenal Black Metal and Brutal Death Metal bands such as Watain, Funeral Mist, Dismember and many others. Rapidly, Swedish Black Metal is on the rise, with one man band Arckanum leading the way as a top notch act in the scene. I have heard a very limited dosing of Arckanum tracks but was intrigued when I saw ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ by Arckanum adorning the metal aisle of Rasputin Records. I mistook it for Antikosmos and quickly bought it. I had previously heard a few tracks from that album and enjoyed it, and the cover for ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ has a barely decipherable logo with no album title except for in a black on black texture print that I couldn't read. What a mistake it was!!! As I purchased one of the best Swedish Black Metal records of the millenium!!!

If you're wondering about the title of this record, it's a thorn. A thorn is a letter in the Old English and Icelanding alphabets which has a "th" pronunciation. I'm still not sure how to pronounce 11 straight thorns and I'm not sure if Shamaatae, the brains and brawn behind this one man band, knows how to either. Aside from all the other intricacies that make Black Metal such an individual genre, the fact that one man bands can make such tentative beauty is an interesting factoid to point out. Not only are these men capable of creating such a masterpiece, they are from all reaches of the globe, proving that even Black Metal is appreciated in small pockets worldwide. Not only is Shamaatae a universally talented musician, but he also is an author of Chaos-Gnostic occult literature, also known as Chaos Magic.

I always thought and know many will agree that the most outstanding Black Metal bands are good musicians but use songwriting as their greatest strength. I'm not trying to draw away from Shamaatae as a musician, but the power of ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ definitely lies in the structure of the songs presented.

Each song starts with a thorn, which gives me no way of knowing how to pronounce the names, as they are also in what I presume is Swedish. Nevertheless, ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ doesn't waste your times with pointless 5 minute intros, and certainly isn't as hypnotic as some or as heavy as others, but what is written is a powerful, uplifting, heavy slab of Black Metal with melody, outstanding guitar work, good drumming, and wondrous vocals all to add to the quality of this album.

First up is Þorhati, a song which starts out the album on a very high note, featuring blast beats, some great leads, and even choruses, something hard to pull off in Black Metal but done beautifully here. The main riff is an interesting one, with almost a sweeping and effortless sound to go along with the moderately fast blast beats. The chorus is definitely the highlight of this song. While each track is great in its own unique way, the album sticks nicely to a formula which includes good solos and guitar leads, some timely drum changes, and Shamaatae's nicely done vocals. His vocals are more high pitched, and almost sound youthful and adolescent. After the admittedly catchy Þorhati, the next track emerges which is among my favorites and keeps the album on the front foot. Þann Svartis has one of the best leads/solos I've heard in Black Metal and establishes a bleak yet strong atmosphere much to my enjoyment. It is hard to balance the dark and the brutal, and Shamaatae does well to add different elements to his music not frequently exhibited in Black Metal to inject some freshness into his work. The album continues on with this manner, with all but Þjazagaldr, a spooky spoken word piece, presumably about Chaos-Gnostism, giving a break to the listener. It's actually not half bad to listen to even though I can't understand Swedish and know little to nothing about Chaos Magic. Þjazagaldr gives way to four more tracks, some more lengthy and drawn out than the previous set, yet still just as effective in creating exactly what Shamaatae had planned for us. I would have given this album of the year but I got signed onto the staff a year too late. In any event, agree or disagree, as Black Metal is severely subjective even to its own listeners, but ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ is some outstanding Black Metal from an always improving and burgeoning scene. If you're a fan of Black Metal in general, do yourself a favor and give this one a spin.

Killing Songs :
Tony quoted 98 / 100
Other albums by Arckanum that we have reviewed:
Arckanum - Fenris Kindir reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Arckanum - Kostogher reviewed by Tony and quoted 92 / 100
Arckanum - Helvitismyrkr reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Arckanum - Sviga Læ reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
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