Released: 2005, Moribund Cult
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
WOA features former members of Thy Infernal, who were, quite frankly, about the best Black/Death band to hail from the US. Their TYRANTS OF HELL album remains a classic of the genre, and a benchmark for how well an American artist can replicate the blackened melodic fury of the European hordes.
Once again, if you were not informed previously, you’d never guess the nationality of the band. It captures a certain coldness that, generally, only Scandinavians understand. But WOA understands it perfectly—and so does Moribund, which has yet another triumph on its hands. They do, however, lose points for using the word "Sinistral," even if it IS a real word...
This is grim, but not lo-fi. From the Dissection-inspired melody lines that bands such as Naglfar and Catamenia have made careers of, to the festering grimness of Darkthrone that is unequaled by all but Sargeist, Winter Of Apokalypse create a swift, decimating palate of darkness and decay, mystery and evil. “Solitary Winter Night” encapsulates much of what Black Metal promised from the start. “Infernal Pact” and “Black Metal Of Death” are standard BM fare, but executed so without flaw as to be perfectly refreshing. Even the Norwegians haven’t done it this convincingly in years.
“Storming The Gates Of Heaven” romps along madly, with the determination of a Satyricon, without the smugness, and the furor of a Marduk, without the repetition. The track is held back only by its somewhat stunted vocals—fine for the genre, but far too overwrought here. “True Pagan Hearts” shows some variety, with some keen instrumentation floating like a corpse beneath the waves. Then, about a minute and a half in, it breaks down marvelously into a grim, death-rock rattle, riff after riff hammering home the dirge of ill intent.
While the wheel is not exactly reinvented, the vigor in performance and ferocity of approach separate this from the pack. This wolf hunts alone. It will likely not appeal to all; but fans of True Black Metal, and the dream of roasting marshmallows over a burning Baptist pew, will buy it, love it, recommend it, and order the goddamned T-shirt.
Oh, and "sinistral" means "pertaining to the left."