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Urgehal is maybe the most underrated black metal outfit to ever haul from Norway showing steady improvement with each album. 'Arma Christi' and 'Massive Terrestrial Strike' were solid, 'Atomkinder' and 'Through Thick Fog till Death' showed promises of greatness and 'Goatcraft Torment' and 'Ikonoklast' contain some of the best black metal to ever leave the land of the fjords. When vocalist/guitarist Trondr Nefas sadly passed in 2012 it would look as Urgehal were no more sadly leaving a huge quality vacuum in black metal.
By the time of Trondr Nefas' departure the follow-up to 'Ikonoklast' had been written and pre-production demos has been recorded. In 2016 remaining Urgehal mainman Enzifer has done the cultural deed of the year and properly recorded those songs with some of Trondr Nefas' solos intact and the help of a string of well-known black metal musicians for vocals and guitar solos. The result is a worthy swansong for Urgehal, 'Aeons in Sodom'.
From the sheer riffing style, hooks and guitar lines alone there is no doubt this album is an original work of Trondr Nefas/Enzifer. The chilling ice-cold atmosphere stemming from the intoxicating riff work is as much Urgehal as you will possibly get. What makes 'Aeons in Sodom' less accessible than its two predecessors to an Urgehal fan though is naturally the vocals. First of all, bringing a different vocalist in for each track will inevitably give a somewhat schizophrenic feeling to the end result. But the typical Urgehal riff is also expected to be followed by Trondr Nefas' vocals and no one else's.
Admittedly most of the guest vocalists (such as Nocturno Culto and Hoest) does an excellent job paying homage to the pronounced yet venomous gnarls of Trondr Nefas. Some though (such as Niklas Kvarforth) just go with their usual vocal style. Although those fit with their main bands, on 'Aeons in Sodom' they become quite a threshold to overcome on some of the songs.
Once past that obstacle though, this is Urgehal following the trodden path of greatness. Although not reaching quite the same insane quality as 'Goatcraft Torment' and 'Ikonoklast', 'Aeons in Sodom' contains some of the best Urgehal tunes to date in 'Blood of the Legion' and 'Thy Daemon Incarnate'. Apart from the masterful songcrafting the chilling atmosphere painting pictures of barren landscapes in a world without hope nor forgiveness makes this so much more than your average Norwegian black metal band.
Although the two closing covers are absolutely redundant, 'Aeons in Sodom' is not only a fitting tribute to one of the most un-recognized black metal musicians ever, but also a fitting obituary to a band that will be sorely missed. RIP Urgehal and Trondr Nefas.