Picks: Immortal, Hate Diplomacy, Marduk

Fair warning: this week’s round-up of new releases from the world of rock, metal, punk and hardcore isn’t for the faint of heart. After all, who doesn’t want to spend the summer listening to black metal?

Immortal
Northern Chaos Gods
Nuclear Blast
[Spotify]

One suspects that the only way to take Northern Chaos Gods on merit is to be a total newcomer to Immortal and a relative newcomer to black metal in general. Which is handy, because Abbath’s departure and Demonaz’s leadership has no impact on our interpretation of this new record, and we like it a lot. Black metal can be a whirlwind of aggression, impossible to grasp, but when it brings enough groove to find an opening it can be richly rewarding. This is a great example, one that has us excited about finally exploring Immortal’s previous work.

Hate Diplomacy
Rant
Hate Diplomacy
[Spotify]

If Immortal is too refined for you, why not let loose with Hate Diplomacy’s in-your-face, hardcore-laden death metal. ‘Believe In Yourself’ introduces the monstrous stomp that makes Rant such a joyous burst of vitriol, and that pummeling continues right to the very end of the album. There’s no effort here to be easy on the ear, no attempt to be unnecessarily intellectual, no desire to bring in outsiders by apologising for snarl. It’s just half an hour of riffs that make you want to eat concrete.

Marduk
Viktoria
Century Media Records
[Spotify]

And so we move on to Marduk, legendary darlings of the underground. The Swedish black metal outfit are unfamiliar to us, so the first knockings of ‘Werwolf’, the opening track on their fourteenth album, put a huge smile on our face. But its frantic mania gives way to a record that’s still aggressive, still fast, and yet somehow restrained. Viktoria has focus. It has some groove into the bargain, ‘Tiger I’ leading that particular charge, and the closing track is stupendous. Above all, it has songs of the very highest quality.

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