I’ll be honest, prior to this release I was unfamiliar with German/Finnish two-piece Order of Nosferat. How could this happen, you may ask?! You had assumed that Mochi the Black Metal Cat is the font of all underground black metal knowledge, and fair enough! But in this case I was caught off guard. This is an impressive and unique release. The album is structured as five ripping, low-fi black metal tracks, punctuated by five shorter dungeon synth. Starting with the black metal – this is filthy, fuzzy black metal with a distinctly old-school vibe. Tormented, shrieking vocals over heavily distorted guitars and drums. A standout inclusion is the synth, which permeates the black metal tracks and above everything else drives the sense of melody. The synth really adds this whole layer of dungeon-esque atmosphere over the metal songs. It’s really effective and reminds me of artists like early Emperor. The opening track, Shadows over Wisborg, is an absolute ripper of a song, and the album’s title track has an aggressive yet melodic edge, reminiscent of Spectral Wound but dirtier. Powerful cymbal and snare work helps to drive the rhythm of the songs, and although the guitars are heavily distorted, the melodies will get stuck in your head. The riffs are immediately catchy and just killer across the board. In true old-school black metal tradition, the bass is inaudible. Is there even bass guitar guitar on this album? It is a mystery. Cats love a good mystery.
And then there’s the dungeon synth tracks. The album manages to capture some real emotional weight with the heartbreaking track The Lone Lord. ‘A Howl from the Forbidden Tower’ is just a sensational example of dungeon synth that draws you further into the atmosphere of the album. The synth tracks may not be for everyone, but I think breaks up the album really well. The dungeon synth tracks are murky and stark. The alternation between black metal and synth creates an atmosphere as if you’re traversing a dark forest and periodically encountering unearthly horrors. I’ve never come across a band who’s put together an album in this way, but it works.
Overall, this is an outstanding release for fans of black metal who are looking for dirty old-school black metal with a sense of melody and atmosphere.