BESATT, Hellstorm (2001, Seven Gates of Hell)

The skull:
Man, what a mess. It’s like someone decided to make a montage cover using only photos of magazine prints of bootleg pressings of eastern European records from the 70s. And maybe a denture ad. There are actually two versions of this cover. There’s this one, which I presume is the original, then another where all this is faded to near invisibility and pasted into some generic lightning photo. Though that might better communicate the “storm” aspect of the title, this better captures the “Hell,” and anyway, here the skull is bigger and so much dumber. Just so fucking dumb.

The music:
It seems like it’s been a while since I was assigned a straight-up black metal album. I still don’t like it. Besatt are boring as all fuck, although I guess they’re relatively competent as these bands go. They’re kinda like Gorgoroth, I guess. Maybe old Satyricon. When you think about it, if you’re playing “traditional” black metal, you’re ripping off one of, like, five bands, and you’re going to suck in the same way they did. Your guitars will be murky, your vocals screechy, your keyboards paddy. Your drummer will record the entire album with only three beats and two fills. If your songs are in English, then they’ll have titles like “Baphomet,” “Funeral Wind,” “For the Glory of Satan,” “Gates of Hell,” etc. The only difference is that you won’t be the first to suck the way you do, but the MILLIONTH. Seriously, there are a metric fuckton of bands like this, and the world doesn’t need more. But so what? You’re in a shitty band, or maybe you just love shitty bands. Maybe you also love Marmite, Full House, and the films of Uwe Boll. Just keep that crap to yourself, and we can still be friends.
— Friar Johnsen


CHOREA, Vultures / All Shit 7″  (1989, self-released)

The skull:
One year of skulls, and we couldn’t ask for a better send off to 2013. This ridiculous fellow looks like a reject from The Outer Limits’ prop room, all cheap styrofoam and spray paint. The eyes, those comically tiny eyes, were almost certainly pried off a cheap teddy bear, and the teeth might actually be kernels of corn. There are so many of them! A glorious mouthful of oversized choppers. And the look on his face is no-nonsense: “Yeah, yeah, I’m an ugly bastard. I know it and you know it. That’s life, man! Or death, am I right? So, let’s just get down to business…” whatever that sordid business might be.

The music:
Isten calls Chorea speed metal without much further comment, which probably doesn’t bode well for their quality. In any case, there is no audible record of this release on the interwebs, but the guitarist was also in Purity, whose first album is one of the fun, forgotten records that never really had a chance on Black Mark. I also have a soft spot for that band for covering The Police. Alas, Purity are not Chorea, and neither do they have a BDS under their belt, but I must make do with the materials provided me.
— Friar Johnsen