Curse of the Absolute Eclipse

The Hellhammer machine grinds on. When Celtic Frost dissolved into a glam band their sound split into two components: Darkthrone and what would, a few years later, become Warhammer. Where Darkthrone was the evil atmospheres and grim attitude of ‘Frost, Warhammer, starting in 1994 resurrected the heavy rhythmic grinding doom. Since such an entity was far from original, they relied on faithful imitation in place of innovation.

This German entity officially named itself Warhammer in 1996 and released two albums in the next four years. Metal evolved and left its ’80s roots behind for a while and Warhammer soldiered on in obscurity. Over the past few years thrash has seen a resurgence, and the Hellhammer that never quite died has quietly gotten stronger. Warhammer has released two albums in the 21st century and are already at work on their next one, (to be titled Beyond The Path Of Redemption, due out in 2003) but that’s jumping ahead a bit, let’s back up and deal with this years’ entry, Curse of the Absolute Eclipse.

With this album, the band has imitation down to a science. For those of you that think Darkthrone never evolved, Fenriz and Nocturno Culto, by comparison are the true innovators of modern metal. Warhammer have the (dis)advantage of having only a single album to copy, and only an EP at that. If you put on Hellhammer and then Curse of the Absolute Eclipse, only the truly initiated will be able to distinguish the two. The obvious difference is in sound quality. The raw production is horrendous by modern standards but much less murky than the original. P

ersonally I enjoy this album, but I was a big Frost fan and Warhammer appeals to me in a nostalgic sense, especially because I have all the Hellhammer/Celtic Frost material committed to memory. Many people will hate them for what they are, clone bands generally not faring well among educated metal heads, and if CF still made records I would probably agree. But they don’t, and Warhammer is the next best thing, especially if I alternate their discs with early Darkthrone efforts in my CD player.

As much as I enjoy Curse of the Absolute Eclipse, sadly, much like those early Darkthrone discs, it will likely sit on my shelf collecting dust for months at a time between listening sessions. Nuclear Blast will release Curse of the Absolute Eclipse in the United States, a first for Volker, Frank and Jens, and therefore should be much easier to find than last year’s The Doom Messiah (I never did find that one).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
July 9th, 2002


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