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Classic Review: Zyklon-B - Blood Must Be Shed
Blood Must Be Shed

Label: Malicious Records
Year released: 1995
Duration: 10:56
Tracks: 3
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: April 5, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4/5 (80%) (36 Votes)

Now this was a release that caused controversy, not to mention a massive underground hunt by black metal enthusiasts throughout the world to find an original copy of it after Malicious Records went bust, therefore rendering it out of print for many years (although, I believe it was re-issued a few years back on Blackened Records). Despite being named after the gas that killed large quantities of Jews in concentration camps during the second world war, band members Ihsahn, Samoth, Frost and Aldrahn professed to having no links to political or racial preferences (in fact, Samoth was to again use the Zyklon moniker, albeit minus the 'B' this time, for his death metal project after the dissolution of Emperor). Still, it caused an understandably huge uproar at the time, with accusations of Nazism and racism flying around, all from a provocative name, and just under 11 minutes of amazing music.

Anyhow, enough of the history lessons and down to the most important bit – the music. 'Blood Must Be Shed' is a sonic hornets nest of pure, unadulterated aggression honed and angered to the nth degree. It emanates pure Norwegian black metal, whilst having an almost Marduk-like quality to it (mainly in the smoldering attack and hateful vocal delivery). From the members involved, what more would you expect apart from superiority through and through? Samoth's guitar assault is visceral and evil, made more hateful still by Ihsahn's euphoric keyboards coupling and strengthening the riffs (reminding at times of the most brutal parts of Emperor's 'Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk'). As for the drums, well, it's Frost from Satyricon for fuck sake! Blasting perfection mixed with a concussive percussion that any drummer worth their salt would sit up and applaud. The vocals of Dodheimsgard's Aldrahn, whilst not necessarily being the best part of this release, are proficient enough, as his bellowing yell strangely suits the music with their unhinged, insane quality (which he again bought to the plate in a similar style many years later on Snorre Ruch's excellent Thorns' debut album.)

Personally, I think this is a contender for the most amazing EP ever created. It leaves me hungry for more after every listen (when I do tend to listen to it, it tends to be around 5 times in a row to placate my aural famine). An unquestionable must for black metal fanatics, and a release which embodies the words 'kvlt as fuck' as much as any album does.

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