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It's difficult to dislike Myrkskog's debut, Death Machine, especially if meat-and-potatoes blackened death metal is your flavor of choice. Shot full of blastbeats, inspired riffing (courtesy of guitarist Destructhor, also a member of Zyklon), and clear, clinical, and chilly production values, the album offers the tempo changes and frantic double-bass work one comes to expect from Norway's frosty climes. While such sonic confines aren't exactly groundbreaking -- the band does occasionally crib a few ideas from the likes of fellow countrymen Immortal and Emperor -- it's Death Machine's consistent songwriting that keeps Myrkskog from being another corpse-painted pretender to the throne. "The Hate Syndicate," "Syndrome 9," and "Morphine Mangled Torture" offer well-thought-out arrangements that smoothly shift from hyperspeed blasts to double-time thrash without barreling too predictably through disjointed death metal landscapes, although the annoying techno remix of "Syndrome 9," which closes the album, is a major blunder. Convincing if not wholly original, Death Machine is a solid and coherent debut from a promising outfit.

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