Bi Den Dode Hant is a new four track EP from Dutch black metal band Cirith Gorgor. It is a small collection of tracks that were unreleased from their previous album, 2016’s Visions of Exalted Lucifer. Bi Den Dode Hant is Cirith Gorgor’s 11th release in total. That does include a few early EP’s and a couple demos though.
Cirith Gorgor have been going strong since 1993 though they were known as Dark Sorceress from 1993 to 1996. The band’s name is taken from The Lord of The Rings, specifically Cirith Gorgor is The Haunted Pass. It is on the edge of Mordor and is the place where the mountain ranges of Ered Lithui and Ephel Duath meet. I would love to say that I knew that but must admit I looked it up.
Musically, Cirith Gorgor are heavy black metal. Lyrically they focus on topics like witchcraft, darkness, Satanism, rituals, war and The Lord of the Rings. The band consists of Satanael on vocals and Marchosias and Valefor on guitars. The bass is in the hands of Valtyr and Levithmong looks after drums and backing vocals.
So with a band name like Cirith Gorgor and a frontman called Satanael, I am already imaging what this is going to sound like. I just really hope they pull through a bit more ingenuity than yesterday’s Petrification EP.
For a 4 track EP, it is reasonably long at 26 minutes. There is a creepy acoustic ending over an eerie effect at the end of The Luciferian Principle and there is a spoken word intro at the start of the track, Bi Den Dode Hant. Aside from this, the music is consistent in trying to pummel your face in with it’s heaviness. From the first second of the first track, Proclamation of Destruction, you get hit. It burts straight into life, almost feeling like you have come in part way through a song. A scream, thundering drums and speed riffing drag you straight into the pit and that continues throughout.
All the way up to the last seconds of the final song, A Vision of Exalted Lucifer, where it ends with a final crash of a drum. Initially that might sound like too much of an assault, like maybe it is bringing brutality to the table but little else? Well, good news. That would be incorrect.
What Cirith Gorgor have created here is a monster or an EP but one with some depth. Vocally, it is really strong. A higher tone is used for the most part giving each song a suitably demonic feel but it is expertly backed up with deeper vocals to add layers of depth and strength. The biggest plus on this album for me though is the expert riffing and guitar leads throughout.
There are some fantastic rhythms being spat out from the axe wielders. You get low toned speed metal rhythms like the intro to Proclamation of Destruction. There are slower bass heavy lines like the intro to The Luciferian Principle or the verses of Bi Den Dode Hant. You also get higher toned leads blazed out on dual guitars like the build up to the outro of A Vision of Exalted Lucifer.
The drumming is really strong too. They have a really nice, meaty sound coming through on the album. Again, like the guitars, there are different styles pulled in from furiously fast tapping to the more thunderous sounding rhythmic sections. There are loads of well timed cymbal crashes and double bass in spades.
All this exceptional black metal is put together into interesting and modern sounding song structures held together by a deep and dark bass that supports the whole songs wonderfully.
All this greatness could have been undone with the wrong vocal style but these band members seem to have perfected how to piece a song together. The faster moments see Satanael utilise his higher toned screams and shrieks. Other sections see him move to deeper growls. Everything just works really well together.
This is the best of black metal right here. A band who are experts in the format but have learned, presumably through experience, how to be creative within the rigid genre barriers.
This is the best black metal I have heard this year so far – by quite a long shot. They are exceptionally talented musicians and have managed to keep each song sounding unique and fresh. The guitar work is second to none and the vocals are really strong. The drums are as good as any I have heard. The bass is not only prominent, but you can hear and even feel it’s impact. This is an EP that black metal fans everywhere should be rejoicing in.
You can pick up a copy of this limited edition EP from the store on Cirith Gorgor’s website. Check them out on Facebook for more news on them and future releases. You can also check out some of their music on YouTube. If you enjoy what you hear, why not hit up there Bandcamp page and pick yourself up some of their music?
Cirith Gorgor - Bi Den Dode Hant (Hammerheart Records)
The Final Score - 9/10
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