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Slave Under His Immortal Will (2001)

Created in the year 2000, by Acerbus and Nabemih, Ondskapt has remained one of the more obscure bands within the modern Swedish black metal scene. With only four releases to the band's credit, they have still managed to make a name for themselves in the underground, due to the quality of their work. Released in June 2001, Slave Under His Immortal Will is still one of the best recordings to come from the darkened minds behind Ondskapt.

Containing only two songs, this E.P. bears similarities to other Swedish bands of the time period, such as Watain and Armagedda. There is a murky atmosphere to this material that hearkens back to Mayhem's classic period, and surpasses that of their contemporaries. One must bear in mind that this came a couple years prior to Casus Luciferi. With evil guitar melodies that could have easily been written by Euronymous, “Slave Under His Immortal Will” and “Dark Path” take the listener on a journey into the blackest of shadows. The tempos are varied, with a lot of emphasis on slower and more mid-paced sections, allowing the riffs to really soak into your subconscious, while the distant and tortured vocals add a hellish feeling. There is nothing violent or intense about this, at all. Ondskapt was not trying to compete with the speed or technicality of many others; rather, they focused on creating a bleak and dismal mood. This is most evident, late in the first track, as a sombre guitar melody is accompanied by tormented howls, sending chills down your spine. The musicianship is not the tightest, but this is actually reminiscent of many of the bands that formed the Second Wave, and is preferable to the mechanical sound that is so prevalent in recent years.

The production demonstrates a fairly good balance. The guitars have a fuzzy tone to them, but are still thick enough to pack a bit of a punch. Things are clear enough to be heard pretty well, except during the brief fast parts in the second song, where it all runs together a bit. One may notice that the bass is much more audible than on most black metal releases, but this adds a layer of gloom to the overall sound. It is absolutely necessary for the bass to be as high as it is in the mix, accordingly. The vocals are buried, somewhat, but it may be for effect and certainly assists in giving it an otherworldly vibe.

Slave Under His Immortal Will is a high quality release and is recommended for any black metal fan. Whether you happen to be into the more recent Swedish sound, or a fan of the early '90s releases, this should appeal to you. This E.P. Is a good starting point for anyone interested in exploring the music of Ondskapt, though it may be that you find this superior to all that they released afterward.
(8 May 2012)

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