The Wretched End – In These Woods, From These Mountains (Indie Recordings)

Genre: Death/Black Metal

Ex-Emperor guitarist Samoth may not adorn as many magazine covers as his former bandmate, Ihsahn, but the Norwegian’s contribution to extreme music shouldn’t be underestimated. Three albums into his career with The Wretched End and the man is still exploring metal’s outer limits with the help of his distinctive, coldly futuristic guitar sound. The jagged, icy shock waves that are sent through tracks like Generic Drone by his strings are still startling after all these years, and this opus – though punishing at times – drips with pitch black melodies. Burrowing Deep, for instance, is chilling, yet the rich textures found within Samoth’s riffs make the song much more than yet another hackneyed death metal creep-out.

The guitarist, however, isn’t the only star on show: drummer  Nils ‘Dominator’ Fjellstrom (of Dark Funeral fame) fuels In These Woods… with a nuclear-powered performance, no better demonstrated than on the phenomenal Atheos, and even Mayhem’s Attila Csihar  pops out of his crypt long enough to ‘sing’ on Old Norwegian Soul (the closest track to full force black metal).

This record actually took a back seat at one point, due to Samoth’s Emperor reunion commitments. However, while it may have taken more time than expected to gestate, the results have been well worth the wait – In These Woods, From These Mountains is technically mind-blowing, but with a heart of pure darkness.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Mountainous