Sound: Urgehal are what they are; a Norwegian black metal band, playing predominantly Norwegian-style black metal. They've been around long enough to be considered residents' but they still arrived a little late to the Burzum-Mayhem-Darkthrone party so their black filth will rarely stain a pearly-white Wikipedia article. For those who don't base their taste in black metal on Blabbermouth, however, Urgehal have been putting out quality full lengths for quite a while and Ikonoklast', looks to follow suit. Almost instantly we are met with Nefas' blistering lead guitar, which varies from the darkly melodic (Cut Their Tongue Shut Their Prayer') to the whammy-tastic (The Necessity Of Total Genocide'), the latter style being given the credibility that Slayer have been trying their best to destroy for almost 30 years.
Beastly drumming from the now-departed Uruz might be the obvious driving force' behind Ikonoklast' but every member even the new bassist, Mannevond, who valiantly ties together the mix even if one of his rare moments in the limelight is the frankly irritating Kniven Rider Dypt I Natt' advances with purpose in their own way. For a relatively well produced album it's a wonder that the slower sections, which normally suit a bit of fuzz, don't drag or end up being transitions between blastbeats here; in fact the blast is saved only for the biggest and best releases of fury, to the point where it's in danger of being underutilised. // 7
Lyrics: Traditional BM topics are not just things that Urgehal write about; they're part of the band's defiance of what they call neo black metal'; a movement of more well-known artists who supposedly ignore the genre's roots in hate, misanthropy and, uh, penetrating delicious little nuns if 1998's Supreme Evil' is anything to go by. Anyway, what I'm saying is that Urgehal's lyrical craft runs on a pretty simplistic diet of Satan and his hi-jinks, so you pretty much know what you're going to get. Vocally, Nefas is strong - if a little sporadic particularly when ushering in a new section with a nice passionate shriek. // 8
Overall Impression: Is this Urgehal's best? No, but it ain't half bad. You could nitpick and say it's a little long, a little inconsistent...but then it's also got songs like Holocaust In Utopia' and The Necessity Of Total Genocide', both of which are professionally executed demonstrations of how to make delicious black metal. Absolutely worth getting for fans, as well as for those who are curious but Ikonoklast' will not be considered amongst the releases from bands like Immortal, Csejthe or Otargos when black metal stands up to be counted for 2009. // 7
- Duncan Geddes (c) 2009