NINKHARSAG "The Blood of Celestial Kings" 


By Dr. Abner Mality

Candlelight Records has unleashed a boatload of black metal releases through their imprint Candlelight Direct recently, focusing on the more obscure and esoteric side of the genre. We'll take a look at the latest from Ninkharsag and Saturnian Mist.

A lot of bands could learn from Ninkharsag. These guys are masters at coming up with concise, direct yet dense black metal songs. Nothing on "The Blood of Celestial Kings" lasts more than five almost unheard of feat in today's underground, where bloated epics are the norm. It helps make this record really enjoyable, because they pack a lot of energy into their music. The songs are still done with basic traditional black metal style, but no time is wasted. Everything here is fast and freezing, but with powerful riffs. My favorites are "Liber V Vel Reguli" and "Tartarus Unbound". "The Blood of Celestial Kings" is an excellent slice of dynamic black metal!

Saturnian Mist I've heard before. They're a different kind of beast...more primitive and stripped down, with a very tribal and ritualistic feel to a lot of their music. They start in fairly promising fashion with "The True Law" and the thrashing "Third Eye Contemplation". But as the album proceeds, the magic starts to wear off and when they reach the godawful "Evoking God", the wheels come off completely. That track is virtually unlistenable and the following two tracks are almost as bad. Like so many bands, Saturnian Mist didn't know enough to quit while they were ahead. If "Chaos Magick" would have ended with the track "Voodoo Satan", it would have been a better album. As it is, it's not terrible. But Ninkharsag gets the brass ring this time around.