Ov Hell
The Underworld Regime

So former Gorgoroth bassist King, after losing the legal battle with Infernus over the Gorgoroth name has teamed up with Dimmu Borgir’s Shagrath and (somehow) Prosthetic Records to deliver one of the most under whelming black metal records of 2010.

I know such a duo should be slightly more dynamic, even more assisted by 1349, Gorgoroth and Keep of Kalessin drummer Frost and guitarist Teloch (1349, Orcustus). But the truth is Ov Hell is as cookie cutter as safe and bland as black metal can be, culling from both bands cutting room floors, and with a dash of Immortal’s tired return.

Despite the names and talent in place, everything is in place for a 1998 black metal record that would have simply never been heard of again: a sterile production delivering frosty and forgetful tremolo picked blast beats, a few mid paced marched and Shagrath’s wheezy rasp, don’t show any elements that this is essentially and should be a pretty respectable supergroup.

That all being said, the album is serviceable in its delivery. It’s just that you expect a lot more. Tracks like opener “Devil’s Harlot”, “Invoker” and “Krigsatte Faner” (songs in Norwegian seem far more authentic right?) seem to superficially have the inherent hues of bygone days tucked beneath reedy and clichéd elements (spooky intro abound) long gone, and the mid paced marches of “Post Modern Sadist”, “Ghosting” and “Hill Norge” seem to have a steady march, but also sound like All Shall Fail cast offs. But when all the tracks come together, it’s utterly shallow, empty and devoid of passion and malice – two crucial black metal elements.

I’m not entirely sure why Prosthetic records is all of a sudden releasing black metal albums (or why respected black metal artists are going to Prosthetic records) from relatively well know Scandinavian acts (they are releasing the upcoming 1349 album), but if Ov Hell is any indication, they should stick to their bread and butter and leave black metal to The ANJA Offensive and Regain Records.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 8th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: vugelnox

    “serviceable in its delivery” is a compliment for this stinker. The new Gorgoroth might not be the most brilliant slab of metal to come down the pipe but it is multiple orders of magnitude better than this unpolished turd.


  2. Commented by: JH DOOM

    I don’t understand all the hate for this release. Yes, it isn’t mind-blowing and yes, the new Gorgoroth is better… but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as all the reviews I’ve read make it out to be, in my opinion. Also, who edits/proofreads these reviews? No offense, but I’m noticing a lot grammatical errors and some rather awkward sentences of late when I read stuff here. Just constructive criticism.


  3. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I also can’t understand the hate for this album. I really think most black metal fans just want to hate anything that Shagrath is involved with.

    This album is certainly not on par with Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam or Twilight of the Idols, but it’s still better than the last four Darkthrone albums. It can still be identified as black metal.


  4. Commented by: vugelnox

    It might still be indentified as black metal true but black metal devoid of intensity, quality riffs and interesting songwriting. Shagrath’s contributions are fine but the final product is very lackluster.


  5. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    To clarify- i like shagrath and Dimmu- his performance is not the only reason this album is so bland- its the riffs and by the number structures


  6. Commented by: gabaghoul

    well I’ll check this out just out of obligation (and I do like Shagrath) but I don’t think I’d ever pick this up because the cover is fucking embarassing. seriously, only 15 year olds would think that’s cool. (although that’s probably the target demo)


  7. Commented by: vortex

    @gabaghoul – I can empathise with your feelings about the cover but that would mean you haven’t bought Sons of Northern Darkness in which case I urge you to reconsider your feelings about judging an album by its cover.

    That said, this is nowhere near the quality of Sons of Northern Darkness. It’s a huge compliment to the musicians when we expect so much better from them. This is a decent enough album but I agree with the review where it mentions we just expect so much more.

    Does this mean King was not part of Gorgoroth’s creative core?


  8. Commented by: gabaghoul

    vortex, you’re right I haven’t bought SoND although it was mostly because I already have Damned in Black (which also has a fucking ridiculous cover) and the two are pretty similar. I like Immortal but I’m not a completist.


  9. Commented by: SerenityInFire

    I actually really like this album. It’s a very good release and I really enjoy all the songs. That being said, I do agree with some of the criticisms. While the performance is good and the musicianship is tight with another killer performance by Shagrath, I do think they were underachieving on this release. I expect the next release to be of the same vain, but I’d like King to push his songwriting a bit more. After hearing Twilight of the Idols and Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam, and seeing the lineup, I was expecting this one to be titled Blast Beats Out the Ass.


  10. Commented by: Cynicgods

    The black metal equivalent of a popcorn flick. Nothing more, nothing less. ;)


  11. Commented by: vugelnox

    a popcorn flick you end up turning off halfway through to watch the news instead


  12. Commented by: DK777

    A good cross section of reactions in these posts. I’m on the “I like Shagrath and KOH and Dimmu and old Gorgoroth” side and also on the “This is a profound letdown of an album” side. While I can’t pin down what’s missing, I can say that I’ve really tried to get interested in this record but can’t… it’s just hollow in some way.

    I’ve read some pieces that suggest that King had written a bunch of music for what was to be the new Gorgoroth, had he and Gaahl won the lawsuit, and that said music is represented here. If that’s true, then I’m really, really glad they lost that case. The record is bland enough as the product of a “BM supergroup”; it’d be worse as the “triumphant statement by the definitive Gorgoroth”!

    And yeah, it’d be nice if the reviewers/writers on this otherwise really good blog put a bit more time into editing and proofing… sorry.


  13. Commented by: Grimulfr

    this is what every Norwegian primary school child should be listening to…at full volume


  14. Commented by: mccumberv

    Damn, I can’t believe some of you are actually busting on the grammar and sentence structure of the review, no one is forcing you guys to read this stuff, its free and it is here for entertainment and to get the word out on new metal, these guys all have day jobs and do this for the love of the music not to be critiqued on how many dangling participles they used.


  15. Commented by: Apollyon

    Even though we don’t get to pay our bills by doing this, we do appreciate the feedback and take it quite seriously. We want to become better at what we do, so we can provide you guys with an even better experience. Thanks!


  16. Commented by: gabaghoul

    DK777 come write for us :)


  17. Commented by: gabaghoul

    ok listened to it, a couple of cool moments, yeah it does sound a lot like the last Immortal at times but not as epic (I really like that album). this is mostly in one ear out the other.


  18. Commented by: appollyonx

    Yeah, I like this album too. Sure, its not reinventing the Black Metal wheel but what the hell? None of the performers have anything to prove. I find it just an enjoyable album, nothing more nothing less and yeah I’ve listened to it a lot in the past few months.


  19. Commented by: DK777

    “DK777 come write for us ”

    I’m not sure if I should jump at this or look closely enough to see it as a veiled “middle finger” in response to the editing comment!

    I do really, really enjoy this blog…


  20. Commented by: noe,lvis

    ive been a fan since digitalmetal.com and this is one of the worst…could not stand this- bland souless, what people do for money… fucking shameless and after i found out who was in it, made sense. that shaggy guy is an asshole to top it off, c’mon you are a dick and you write shitty music… riul doamnei-“apocryphal” that album was worth the listen, made by real musicians i think


  21. Commented by: gabaghoul

    It was a genuine invitation, pm Apollyon or me for info


  22. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    I have absolutely zero desire to ever hear this. Anyone with any experience with metal or the people involved in this should know without hearing a single note that this was going to be an uninspired cash in.

    I enjoyed Shagrath when I was younger, when Dimmu was first getting noticed (Stormblast/Enthrone Darkness Triumphant/Spiritual Black Dimensions). But, ever since the Puritanical….. album, I simply cannot stand his vocals. He annoys the shit out of me. WAAAY too much Devil Doll influence for my taste.

    @Gaba- Dude, pick up “Sons of Northern Darkness”. MUCH better than Damned in Black, and better than then All Shall Fall as well. There are sone killer songs on that album, especially “One By One” and “Demonium”


  23. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I’ve heard SoND before but I will go back and check it out again, just for you Biffy


  24. Commented by: The Apostate

    Dimmu/1349 fan here. What if Cream had sucked as bad as Ov Hell? Seriously. Super-groups are supposed to be amazing collaborations between ridiculously talented artists. I was absolutely giddy when I heard that Shagroth had collaborated with Infernus and Frost, yet I snoozed my way through this album like I have many other awful black metal try-hard outfits. What a complete disappointment. Someone must have needed a paycheque.


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