“Aeons In Sodom”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Urgehal’s journey through the darkness ends with this album. A stalwart in the Norwegian black metal scene with roots going back to the very origins of the movement, they will play no more. The decision was made after the suicide of their vocalist and frontman, Trondr Nefas. Nefas’ bandmates decided to do one last album as both epitaph and tribute. I think Nefas would be more than pleased with “Aeons In Sodom”…this is absolutely orthodox and rock solid black metal in the grand tradition.

Instead of choosing one person to replace Nefas, Urgehal called upon the great voices of Norway to chip in here. We have the likes of Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto, Taake’s Hoest and Niklas Kvarforth of Shining, amongst many others, adding their distinctive howls to this chorus of darkness and tragedy. As a result, “Aeons In Sodom” emerges as a kind of tribute not just to Urgehal but the entire traditional Norwegian BM scene, touching on a variety of sounds and styles. And it all sounds great, from the speeding blast of “The Iron Children” to the grooving Darkthrone-style primitivism of “Sulphur Black Haze” to the twisted progressive BM of “Psychedelic Evil”. Each vocalist is perfectly chosen for his particular track. But if there’s one song that seems to sum up the entire Urgehal experience, it is “Endetid”, which has thrash-like aggression mixed with the cold gloom that can only come from the fjords.

There’s also a couple of evocative instrumental interludes and interesting covers of Sepultura’s “Funeral Rites” and Autopsy’s “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay”. These last two show the influences of Urgehal extend beyond the confines of black metal.

This is a terrific sendoff to Urgehal and a very good “love letter” to the classic BM of the 90’s!