All Hyllest Til Satan

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Originally recorded in 1999, Bloodsworn's All Hyllest Til Death album spent nearly a decade packed in deep Norwegian ice (well, not literally) while its creators were busy pursuing a number of different black metal projects, including Urgehal, Beastcraft, and In Lingua Mortua. So what's one to make of the fact that they suddenly deemed it worthwhile to unearth these master tapes, remix them, and release them in 2008? Was it nostalgia, boredom, or perhaps even a good reason like the benefit of hindsight? All three verdicts are likely to be passed by different folks who come into contact with All Hyllest Til Satan, and, ironically, all of these reasons (and more) could be defended at length, due to the curiously contradictory nature of this form of primal black metal savagery, which generally values raw emotion over technical perfection. And, sure enough, like many albums of this ilk, the distracting surface static applied to All Hyllest Til Satan (forged of layers of hazy distortion intended to make it sound like a third-generation demo) successfully masks a surprisingly refined songwriting arsenal, not to mention Bloodsworn's magnificent performance chops to carry everything off at such frenzied tempos. So don't be fooled by the occasional one-dimensional blastbeaters like "Frykt Djevelen" and "Satan Lord," which merely try to throw one off the scent; rather notice how "Stormens Roest," "The Dawn of a New Millennium," and the title track frequently change up their tempos, incorporate atmospheric synthesized backdrops, and produce abundant guitar melodies and solos -- as evil as they are sublime. First impressions can be deceiving, in other words, and they should definitely be ignored in the case of All Hyllest Til Satan -- just ask the members of Bloodsworn themselves.

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