Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Class of 2013: Blåhø - Through Sinister Nightfall

Blåhø is a Norwegian black metal band that gets it name from a mountain in Oppland, Norway.  Debut record Through Sinister Nightfall features synths, clean vocals (purists beware), and catchy hooks that almost feel anthemic.

Album opener "Eternal Dreams" is immediately memorable and highlights Blåhø's strengths, especially the band's ability to write a catchy chorus that mixes black metal vocals with clean ones.  In fact, throughout Through Sinister Nightfall, clean vocals are deftly mixed in, often in the background, and they complement the black metal vocals very well.

If "Eternal Dreams" catches your ear, then you'll enjoy the remaining 6 songs.  The band may slow things down a bit on "Heretic Chaos," but the calm before the storm is only fleeting.  "Hell Enthralled" opens with a brief synthy intro, speeds up, and gets better and better as the track progresses.  Not to be outdone, the title track gets off to a fast start, considers going prog at about the 2-minute mark, and then ends with some clean vocals that bring chanting to mind.
Through Sinister Nightfall is a promising debut from a black metal band with a strong sense of melody, and I'm interested to hear how Blåhø forges ahead on future releases.

Grade: B  (84.0%)

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