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Friday, February 12, 2010

Ov Hell - The Underworld Regime

Black Metal Masters Do What They Do Best (Make Black Metal).

Ov Hell is what some, or many, would consider to be a super-group. Vocalist, Shagrath comes from Dimmu Borgir while bassist, and main songwriter, King, is the ex-bass player for Gorgoroth. This is nothing you won't find on another black metal record, you just won't find the all-star line-up that played on this one.
While King and Shagrath are the two main members, King got players that will make any black metal fan salivate. On guitars are Teloch, who has played in Gorgorth and Orcustus, and Ice Dale, from Enslaved. On drums is the BM legend, Frost, who has played in numerous projects, the main ones including Satyricon and 1349.
The music on here, for some, will have that Gorgoroth feel to it, and that's because this music was originally written to be the next Gorgoroth album. When King and Gaahl left Gorgoroth, after the trial (you read that for yourself), he was going to use this music for God Seed. When Gaahl decided to leave metal music, King had all the music composed but no one left to help him manage it, so to speak. He then got Shagrath to come in and perform the vocals, I believe the instrumental portions were already completed at the time he came in, and finish the album up.
There isn't much on here you wouldn't have heard from Gorgoroth or another black metal band. Keeping it kvlt, it has a very traditional sound without much tampering into other styles and genres of music. The riffs are very fierce sounding and create the dark atmosphere that black metal was founded on.
The bass for the most part just follows with the guitars, providing the low-end. The guitars, as already stated, are ferocious and sound like buzz-saws, while certain track stand out like Krigsatte Faner or Invoker, that contain melodies within all the aggression. The drumming on here is pretty standard for black metal, mostly double-bass and blast beats, nothing on here is really going to blow your mind.
Shagrath really does a good job on his vocals though. Diversifying himself enough to keep you and the songs entertaining by shifting or adding something different to each track. While nothing on here is all that different from his main band, it fits this style almost better, due to it's lack of fluff and show. Tracks like Invoker or Perpetual Night showcase a little bit more of a range of style then your average kvlt screams.
The song-writing on here is really good as well. Keeping it very basic and standard without trying to make everything look flashy or evil. King has proved before that his songwriting is what makes him such a handy guy to have in a band. The quiet, soft-spoken man creates music with hooks while never seeming to "sell-out" with more mainstream melodies and keyboards.
Overall, while not mind blowing, "The Underworld Regime" is a record with a lot of good songs. Fans of any of the bands that performers on this album are from will find this record a welcome addition to their collection. For newer fans to black metal, this would also be a good record to start with as well. Definitely worth a listen.
Overall Score: 8
Highlights: Devil's Harlot, Ghosting, Acts of Sin, Hill Norge

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