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Review: Basilisk - A Joyless March Through the Cold Lands
A Joyless March Through the Cold Lands

Label: Meurtre Noir Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 27:28
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: March 9, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
A Joyless March Through the Cold Lands

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)

The British black metal scene has had its fair share of naysayers over recent years throughout the rest of the world, and in the main it's been with good reason, with only bigger bands such as Anaal Nathrakh keeping the flag flying with any sort of respect. However, digging deeper into the UK underground (yes, there is an underground, and the scene as a whole doesn't revolve around Akercocke, Cradle of Filth and Hecate Enthroned believe it or not – none of which could truthfully be labeled as black metal anymore anyway), all sorts of gems can be discovered, one of the greatest examples of which is Basilisk's debut album 'A Joyless March Through the Cold Lands'.

Sounding very much like a cross between Leviathan (US) and Draugar whilst managing to maintain their own unique edge, Basilisk are truer than true, with buzzing guitars speedily creating atmosphere with haunting evil melodies, harrowing echoing vocals and clattering lowly mixed drums – absolutely no synths, technical death metal flourishes or lovely ethereal sections to be found here. Or bass for that matter. It is the vocals that really set the band apart for me, with a croaking grim unintelligible tone topped with a heavy slapback delay, sounding amazing over the minor key guitar chord arrangements, being equally hateful as they are evil, creating a wicked and claustrophobic feel to the album. There is a slight deviation in sound for the final track, as it has no drums, vocals, or distorted guitars at all, coming on very neo-classical in its demeanor with overlaid clean electric guitars, building into a crescendo - a pleasing and refreshing way to end such a kvlt misanthropic album.

So, with bands like Basilisk, Ashes and Contra Ignem Fatuus helping to keep the U.K underground flame burning, the English black metal scene is still very much alive thank you very much. Don't believe me? Then check this album out.

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