So it looks like Metal Blade Records is trying to ‘nasty’ up their black metal stable adding Istapp and the second album from Sweden’s Valkyrja to the likes of Goatwhore, Ravage and Razor of Occam. And while Valkyrja features two members of Ondskapt, one of the nastier black metal acts around, Valkyrja is a more acceptable form of black metal that safely culls from the likes of Dark Funeral, Marduk and such.

Armed with a typically blistering and razor sharp Necromorbus Studio (Watain, Averse Sefira, Funeral Mist) production, Contamination covers all the elements of modernized black metal from stern mid paced marches and vortexes of slightly melodic tremolo picked fury. The vocals of A.L are surprisingly understandable and not as high pitched as most black metal making for an even more commercial listen.

Even with all the tenets required for a solid black metal album most of the album is pretty standard, and at a rather long 56 minutes with slightly over drawn songs that hover around the 5-7 minute mark and truthfully, the album is rather disposable with only the shorter more direct tracks like “Welcoming Worms” making a real impact as they are more vicious and less developmentally forced like the title track and “The Adversarial Incentive Within All” , which kinda fart around with builds, slower sections and ever so slight attempts at atmospherics. And those moments just seem a bit watered down as opposed to the pure fury that the band is capable of unleashing throughout those songs, they are just a bit buried at times. “A Cursed Seed in the World” get the balance right,but the album could have been about 16 minutes shorter and delivered 10 tracks of far more direct and seething power than dancing around a bit too much.

Still, a solid album that when firing on all cylinders, has some enjoyable and at times, scorching modern black metal, but its not doing anything new or original. And personally I wonder why Metal Blade didn’t go after one of the forthcoming big name releases from Ov Hell or 1349 to bolster their black metal reputation (Prosthetic Records? Really?).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 12th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Watain’s distant cousin, the one that lives in a secluded cabin and carves furniture from animal bones. :D

    Metal Blade’s signing/distributing some really cool bands lately to make up for their At The Gates clones.

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