THOU SHALT SUFFER (Nor): “Into the Woods of Belial” collection Cd 2004 Nocturnal Art

THOU SHALT SUFFER (Nor):

I cannot say with absolute accuracy if this 2004 Cd pressing is identical to the 1997 version but I am pretty sure the content is the same. Thou Shalt Suffer is quite famous for being the band which was before Emperor, with Isahn, Ildjarn and Samoth etc., and, well, honestly I think this material eclispes everything that band has done since the rather good self-titled Ep which was later released as a split with Enslaved. Even if not Black Metal by today’s standards, there is a lot of obscurity and evocative energy in this material, this is a in fact collection of a demo tape plus the 7″ released by the great underground label Distorted Harmony, which also released 7″s by Carnage, Carcass, Cenotaph etc. I have bought a cute collection of all the Distorted Harmony 7″s on Cd last year, and while although it’s obviously a bootleg (is it?), I feel I must review it here one day. Soundwise, it would not be difficult to rate this as just classic, glorious Death Metal made in Scandinavia 1990 and end the review here, but indeed it would be a broad approximation, becouse this music is not standard by any means. You have guttural vocals and slightly higher gargles and a powerful, muddy guitar sound a la countrymates Amputation (nor), but it’s the sense of eeriness which is predominant here. The most close association to a band I can make to the structures and unwrapping of these songs is for sure Autopsy. There is that obscure twisted feel in the riffs that remind of “Mental Funeral”/”Severed Survival” here, yet stripped of the doomy Black Sabbath vein. “Into the Woods of Belial” has its share of slow crunches but that’s when the difference between this band and the gods of Death really comes out. It is also undeniable a touch of old Death in the sound also, as sometimes you got that vaguely egyptian riff but it’s not so common as to make it trademark. It is just quite clear that this band took their earlier inspiration from that American sound as well as the Stockhom one. Sometimes you get also a keyboard note similar to a flute, very crudely arranged, just two or three notes, but it projects the image of the mindless musicians that keep the ungod Azathoth dormant. It is effectives sometimes, but at other times it’s totally superfluous, I would have gladly erased them all from the mix. This is good old school Death with a strong early Autopsy worship and totally cool varied guitarwork, too bad for the stupid keyboards, really. Buy this Cd if you find it but stay away from the shit that is the second Thou Shalt Suffer Cd, it’s mainly bad electronics crap. The sound shifts in quality when the recording of the 7″ starts, and you basically get some songs twice but that’s the good in retrospectives. The two ending songs are not really that good but it’s good they’re here for the sake of completion. No lyrics, horrible cover which is a pic of a wood at night with a newspaper rolled on the side, but nonetheless great old school Death with feeling.

Vote: 8.7

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