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Review: Utgard - Thrones and Dominions
Thrones and Dominions

Label: No Sign of Life
Year released: 2008
Duration: 45:39
Tracks: 12
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: July 5, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
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Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (8 Votes)

Finland's Utgard take their Black Metal influences mostly from the early Norwegian bands, but then again, Utgard was founded back in 1994, so we're talking pretty much the same era, although this is only their second album, the first one as recent as 2006, and before that were a string of demos scattered over the course of a decade. Think a little of Satyricon and Darkthrone, with a hint of Carpathian Forest's "black 'n' roll" style at times.  Throw in some synths that give it a little medieval aura here and there.  Some of the more melodic/atmospheric passages remind me a little bit of Onyx circa En Oria, which is definitely not a bad thing.  I really like the vocal work on the album, very harsh BM raspy vocals spitting out the words in a somewhat menacing/hateful fashion.  There's also a more throaty style used on some of the slowest songs, very effective and matching the music perfectly.  The album is mostly mid to fast-paced, but not "blast beat-o-rama" fast, rather the kind of fast tracks you'd hear from Carpathian Forest, for example.  Far from being the low-fi minimalistic style, there's some good playing in here, while still managing to sound raw and dirty - just in a disciplined way.  Lots of melodic passages, but don't take this as a bad thing, as even the most melodic parts blend in and add more vile to the overall dark atmosphere of the album.

I found that the album taken as a whole can feel a bit dull, missing a little "je ne sais quoi", but there's enough good stuff in here to make this worthy of attention - keeping in mind that most of this has already been done by many of their Scandinavian counterparts.

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