Album Review: Urgehal -Ikonoklast
Although the 2009 release of Ikonoklast is relatively recent, this album exemplifies everything that I love about old-school Norwegian black metal. Urgehal utilizes atmospheric but brutal melodies, misanthropic lyrics that glorify destruction and death, and of course, the trademark screaming vocals that define the genre. The mantric repetition of the rhythm guitars and percussion are countered by dynamic solos. Each instrument gets its fair share of limelight, and the sound is very balanced.
Not every band can capture the true spirit behind traditional black metal, but Urgehal doesn’t do anything particularly ambitious or innovative. Although they display exceptional musicianship, it seems they are imitating the masters of first wave black metal, and as such, the album can be very repetitive and almost boring.
They certainly have enough talent to spare, so it would be interesting to see Urgehal attempt something more unusual and adventurous instead of sounding like like a long-lost Immortal album. Ikonoklast is one of many releases available from Season Of Mist, an underground record label. There is pure anger and hatred behind the dissonant music, resulting in a genuinely evil sound. Plus, when you say the band name out loud, it sounds like you’re too drunk to pronounce the word “alcohol.” For this reason alone, I award them five stars out of five.