Since 2005 (and a few albums deep into its recorded history already), Finland’s SATANIC WARMASTER has been bathed in the blood of the sole and ridiculously prolific Werwolf, for better or worse. Guest musicians involved or not, SW’s failures and triumphs rest and resound in one man. With a discography as varied and plentiful as this, it’s unwise to assume everything measures up to the quality of the best or should be down to the level of the triteness of the worst.
Aamongandr is SATANIC WARMASTER’s first full-length in 8 years, though, so one hopes Werwolf and the chosen session pack are prepared to maraud. When “Baphometic thunder roars at the apex of the raven spire” is the opening line to Song #1, they’d damn well better be. Surreptitiously melodic guitar patterns inweave themselves around basic, played-out (read: typical by now) drum blasts, the high point of ‘Bafomet’ far and away, the rest of the opener amounting to 5-odd minutes of boredom.
‘Duke’s Ride (Ride Of The Spectral Hooves)’ however is everything the former was not. Memorable yet murderous, awash in keys and clamor, battlefield clang and carnage until the middle section’s deceptive calm [3:00-3:46] heralds the arrival of the soon-to-be victorious, culminating in the leading off of the soon-to-be captives into unforgiving slavery. Holding its own, but barely, ‘Berserk Death’ is standard Werwolf fare, dirty and unkempt as the best of Finnish blackness, but not standing confidently on its own.
After more of the same in ‘The Eye Of Satan’, ‘Darkness…Triumphator’ reveals itself as another high point of the album, not as grand or glorious as ‘Duke’s Ride…’, but cut of the same ebony cloth, wrapping itself in feints of melody, yet inwardly dyed in victim blood. This record needs a true win at the end, there’s no doubt, so we begin ‘Barbas X Aamon’ with hopeful trepidation, led into the tune with a surprisingly slow burn, but lending an air of anticipation. As unexpectedly, the finale stays at relatively the same pace throughout, Werwolf proving that he’s still very capable of keeping listeners attentive, even when they’re admittedly looking for chinks in the armor.
In all, Aamongandr will please the slavering faithful to anything SATANIC WARMASTER breathes, belches or shits. For the more discerning, or those undecided, it’s an album made up of equal parts grime, grandeur and “Guess that’s the new one. Next…”.
Review By: Lord Randall
2.5 / 6