DENIAL OF GOD – The Hallow Mass – (Osmose / Hells Headbangers)

Upon the throne of horror black metal.


Now brace yourselves for what is one of the best releases of the year. This is a tragic release of pure old school black metal.

With parts that are doomish, songs clocking in at almost 15 minutes, this chef d’oeuvre of the style was thus conceived to become one of the most inseparable albums of the year. I confess, I was reluctant to publish and then abandon it because I grew so fond of it that my desire is to give it spins until eternity.

Denial Of God is no new band, and they released an EP this year (one song is here) – click here to read the critique of the EP– but this album is sincerely a masterpiece!

The first song Hallowmas is an opera (that aforementioned big song) that provides us with insights of sadness thus not being DSBM, but being more romantic in the middle of the noisy binge. The brutish riffs have space to be understandable in an iteration that is epic. A travel to the cemeteries where the souls of the dead wander: syncopated drums, theme solos, lamenting black metal vocals, occasionally fast drums a quasi-prog work without being so. Honestly, I could write a book just about this song, so let’s go ahead.

Undead Hunger, a 10-minute piece, is an interesting tune because it solves the problem posed by the first track: how to decodify a long song. As it’s a middle-pace affair, a 10-miute-tune becomes to sound like 4-minute one… It’s so entrancing that one finds itself traveling, though space and time are becoming unglued. Once one gets caught by the serpentine nature of the song, he sits right back and enjoy layer upon layer of black metal. Marvelous!

My opinion on The Shapeless Mass, the song that gives name on the aforementioned EP has changed a little over time, from good, to excellent, as I had more doses of it and the song started to become one of my favorites, that you know exactly where the parts are, and even sing along with it. Heck what a track!

The romantic, sad, and horror-like The Lake In The Woods is strong enough to make one deeply impressed by its minimalistic but painful riffs. Vocals vary between whispering in more delicate parts to full guttural when the heaviness returns. Impossible to remain unemotional during the 10 minutes (over again) of this one…

Hour of the Worm is the heaviest and fastest song of all opus. Short (compared to other tracks) is concise and it pass its message across without beating around the bush. Stunningly angry and maintaining the tradition of the Scandinavian Black Metal.

A Thousand Funerals, the shortest song of the album, clocking in only at one minute and fift- three seconds, works as an interlude, nonetheless being very… well, funeral…

To close the album The Transylvanian Dream has basically two parts… the first one is fast and follow the general rules of the CD (which by NO means is bad, mind you). The second parts has syncopated rhythmic session and riffs larger than life, although very repetitive, while in the very last minute returns to its original theme. I do admire people who go full circle.

Is the Hollow Mass the best black metal album of the year? I couldn’t answer that right now, but is one of the strongest contenders I’ve found so far. Do you doubt it?

The Hallow Mass is going to be out on Osmose / Hells Headbangers on October 25.

Rating: 10/10

(Roderick Totentanz)

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