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Massakren - "Massakren" (CD/EP)

Massakren - "Massakren" CD/EP cover image

"Massakren" track listing:

1. New Infernal Rebirth (4:47)
2. Threshold (4:38)
3. Champions Of Slaughter (5:14)
4. Under Cover Of Darkness (5:00)
5. This Is Our Battle, This Is Our Day (5:28)

Reviewed by on May 13, 2011

"A listener could be easily forgiven for thinking these songs were made by an established Scandinavian outfit on its eighth or ninth album."

Some of extreme metal’s finest outfits were started by untested teenagers still hungry for the music and ready to storm the world with guitar and growl. Continuing that fine tradition are the young lads from Massakren, who are putting their own spin on black metal and ensuring the genre gets carried into the next era of heavy music. With sounds both familiar and unique to be found on the band’s self-titled EP, “Massakren” is a release that heralds the beginning of a new black metal juggernaut that will likely crush the competition and establish a place of dominance in the crowded field.

Even though the band hasn’t built up a solid catalog of material yet, and the musicians were all in their teens or early twenties when the tracks were recorded, nothing about the EP sounds like it was crafted by an act still trying to get its initial footing. A listener could be easily forgiven for thinking these songs were made by an established Scandinavian outfit on its eighth or ninth album.

There are plenty of echoes of older Dimmu Borgir to be heard throughout, such as the use of black metal growls, deep and distorted clean vocals, and higher serpentine rasps. Symphonic flourishes abound, but they are placed at strategic positions and don’t overwhelm the music. The entire EP exudes a sense of balance, being neither too symphonic nor too abrasive, but still having loads of both styles.

Beyond just rehashing standard symphonic black metal, Massakren also has a stellar guitar driven sound that is noticeably influenced by guitar virtuosos like Alexi Laiho, and also includes some thrash leanings. The blend prevents direct comparisons to the big players in the field, and even pushes the EP above some of the newer offerings from long running symphonic black metal bands. Anyone who thought “Abrahadabra” wasn’t as good as it could have been needs to make a point to give “Massakren” a listen through.

With lyrics, vocal styling, and overall persona appealing to the black metal crowd, along with enough guitar acrobatics to lure in anyone who just plain digs heavy music, Massakren’s self-titled EP is a definite winner and a sign of great things to come.

Highs: Strong echoes of Dimmu Borgir's better material, but with its own unique twist and lots of guitar acrobatics

Lows: Some more variation between the tracks wouldn't hurt

Bottom line: This EP heralds a rising new player in symphonic black metal that is already beating some of the established giants.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)