Released: 2009, Dark Essence Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Norway has always managed to surprise people by their very high quality metal scene since Mayhem´s first rehearsal tapes were spread through the darkest catacombs of underground tape trading scene, this Nordic country offering killer acts basically from every metal genre regularly and securely through many years. This list is endless – and I am confident by stating that this Bergen-based progressive black/death metal band, named Sulphur, is yet another act in the ever-growing line of metal bands to keep the flag high for a high-standard Norwegian metal scene for sure.
Sulphur´s 2nd 10-track opus, titled THORNS IN EXISTENCE, provides a great yet somewhat challenging listening experience for all those demanding extreme metal fans who don´t content themselves with only fresh strawberries and thick cream on the top of their cakes, but also need some more nerve-stimulating and surprising flavors for reaching their full enjoyment with this record. These 5 Norwegian extreme metal warriors in Sulphur have been capable of offering a little bit extra on their 2nd album T.I.E. than just those basic, safe and foreseeable ingredients of extreme metal only - keeping their strongly progressive and experimental Emperor/Ram-zet/Morbid Angel/Dark Funeral-tinged black/death metal amazingly and daringly varied and multi-dimensional - like not taking anything too much for granted within a load of their blackened and partly folk-ish extreme metal. There´s so much happening in their songs all the time that it´s about impossible to catch the formula of certain songs fully in the first 2-3 listens only. Extremity and progressiveness of metal - and willingness to break some certain, known musical moulds around them - added with both technical and imagination-wise strong efforts that they have managed to sink into the depths of this captivating album, have all proved to be a true winner´s recipe for Sulphur. These fellows tend to twist and turn things as far as their song structures are concerned, without even fearing twisting and turning them just a little bit more through this content-wise rich album, resulting in having an absolutely satisfying wholeness in their heavy and yet so skilful hands.
THORNS IN EXISTENCE has it all basically what many extreme metal album unfortunately seem to lack nowadays: Very skilfully and ambitiously performed songs, heaviness, melodies, a burning drive and passion to keep things challenging, and just much more actually. Without a slightest doubt, I will certainly keep my eyes out for Sulphur´s future endeavors.