By Dr. Abner Mality

These Belgian maniacs have really come into their own with “Exorkizein”.  They’ve been on my radar but never have they unleashed a brilliantly darkened masterpiece like this. It’s like they stepped out of a time portal from 1988, bringing all the best qualities of Bathory, Possessed, Onslaught and Mercyful Fate with them while establishing their own grim trademarks.

They are one of the few groups that seems to understand the substance of what made 80’s black metal so great, not merely the form.  Their songs are engulfed by ancient darkness…you can hear the thunder crack and the church bells pealing when they launch into tracks like “Infestation-Manifestation-Possession” and “Beast of Prey”. The riffs are basic but awesomely dark and compelling…they hammer themselves into your brain. “In Vain” and “Take the Oath” are absolutely hypnotic. If you can imagine a cross between Bathory’s “The Return” and Onslaught’s “Power From Hell” with witch-like vocals, this is it. Yet Possession has its own unique quality and is not just a “retro” knockoff.

One of the best records of the year for me. It tells the tale of real life exorcist Gabriele Amorth, but put a very evil spin on it. Perfect subject matter for this darkest of bands.