Urgehal - Aeons in Sodom
Season Of Mist
Black Metal
12 songs (48:43)
Release year: 2016
Official Myspace, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

For all black metal's church-burning, corpsepainted not-giving-a-fuck attitude of total nihilism, it's still something of a brotherhood, proven by the circumstances surrounding Aeons in Sodom. Many assumed Norwegian hellraisers Urgehal would split after the tragic death of frontman Trond Nefas in 2012, just 34, yet the remaining members of the band decided to press ahead with a final album in tribute to him, already half-written by Trond. Close friends and bandmates of Trond from the many other projects that he's worked in were invited to contribute to pay homage, and so we have a rather touching album that features a wide array of Norwegian black metal talent, coming together in tribute to a man who gave so much to it. There aren't many surprises to be found – don't expect any female vocals, rapping, or djent breakdowns – but that doesn't stop Aeons in Sodom from being a killer album, made with clear passion, that acts as a terrific send-off for Urgehal.

Immediately after intro Dødsrite, ambience with a live call to arms from Trond, The Iron Children kicks in, initially a mid-paced rumbler fronted by Nocturno Culto's unmistakable snarl, sounding more vicious than he has in Darkthrone for a long time. A kick up tempo provides the headbanging fuel hinted at, this shift in speed giving you an atmospheric workout as well as exercising your neck, the black/thrash riffs probably familiar but not lessened in power despite that. Blood of the Legion continues the intensity, Endezzma vocalist Morten Shax's vomitous rasp riding atop a barely controlled thrashing storm that manages to throw some catchy hooks in thanks to a slower, doomy section fitting perfectly alongside the faster moments. It leans towards black n'roll at places, as with previous Urgehal outings, but manages to avoid tipping over fully, saving that for the following The Sulphur Black Haze, which is given additional pitch-black atmosphere thanks to Taake's Hoest.

The flow of the album is possibly the best I've seen from a modern traditional black metal release, keeping the styles of songs intertwined but allowing for subtle changes that keep the listener's ear hooked. Koldbrann's Mannevond spews rancid bile all over the oddly Morbid Angel-esque Lord of Horns – that screech of 'we know no life but death' is extra moving. Norwegian Blood and Crystal Lakes has one of the most insane vocal contributions from Niklas Kvarforth, easily more disturbing than anything from Shining lately, although Nattefrost comes close to rivalling him with his howling performance on Endetid, as does Tsjuder's Nag on Psychotic Evil, the longest track at over six minutes and one most willing to allow its riffs to linger for full atmospheric effect. Elsewhere, there's no letdown in quality from Sorath Northgrove (Beastcraft) on Thy Daemon Incarnate, and the closing covers of Sepultura's Funeral Rites and Autopsy's Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay (fronted by Sadistic Intent's Bay Cortez and Angst Skvadron's RM respectively) are a good, fun way to close an album like this. Each guest gives their all, each riff and blast is powerful, each song a ripping reminder of how awesome Norwegian black metal can be when hearts and minds are focused. RIP Trond Nefas, he couldn't have wished for a better final outing for Urgehal.

Killing Songs :
All, especially The Iron Children, Blood of the Legion, The Sulphur Black Haze, Lord of Horns, Norwegian Blood and Crystal Lakes, Entedid, Psychotic Evil
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Urgehal that we have reviewed:
Urgehal - Goatcraft Torment reviewed by Tony and quoted 92 / 100
Urgehal - Ikonoklast reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Urgehal - Through Thick Fog till Death reviewed by Alex and quoted 71 / 100
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