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Humut Tabal - The Dark Emperor Ov The Shadow Realm Award winner

Humut Tabal
The Dark Emperor Ov The Shadow Realm
by Danny Sanderson at 06 August 2014, 4:09 PM

America, as I have mentioned before, is quickly becoming one of the most vibrant areas in the Black Metal scene; some have even gone as far to describe it as the third wave of Black Metal. All across the states, bands like CEREMONIAL CASTINGS, INQUISITION and AVERSE SEFIRA have been building on the foundations laid down by the Scandinavian demigods and adding their own sound to the mix. However, there are some places where you would not expect Black Metal to come from; for example, Texas. Texas is almost synonymous in popular culture with conservative values, it is part of what is known as "the Bible Belt", and it has perhaps one of the most religious states in an already overtly religious nation, boasting a population where well over 90% of its inhabitants identify as Christians, whether that's Protestant or Catholic. Despite this, it has become a breeding ground for some of the US' most well known Black Metal acts, namely ABSU, the aforementioned AVERSE SEFIRA, and HUMUT TABAL. The latter, hailing from the city of Dripping Springs, have only been around for around 5 years, but in that time they have begun to establish themselves. 5 years, one full length album and two splits (one with PLUTONIAN SHORE and the other with WEORAN) later, they have finally unleashed their second album, "Dark Emperor ov the Shadow Realm", on the world.

Right from the album's opening track, "Across the Boundless Land ov Death", it is clear just how much this album has benefited from the five year gap between this and its predecessor. It is very much rooted in traditional Black Metal, but is not stuck in the past, trying to relive past glories. This is the sound of Black Metal in the twenty first century. The production is perfect; clean and clear, but with just about enough harshness to appeal to your older Black Metal fan. This album has musicianship in bucket loads, especially on tracks like "Through the Forest ov Twisting Shadows" and "Furious Winged Helldaemons Soar", which both have some fantastic Bass lines and guitar hooks. The mid-paced and eerie sounding "Alone, in Purest Silence" acts as a counterpoint to the following track, which is not only the shortest, but also the fastest track on this record, "The Misanthrope ov the Barren Waste Becomes", which has a clear and obvious influence from the likes of EMPEROR and DISSECTION. This influence can be heard throughout the album, but nowhere more so than here. "The Wielder ov the Daemon Blade" has some symphonic elements to it that really help carry the track and make it one of the best on the album. The penultimate tune, "In the Shade of Lord Satan's Wings", the band begin to stray into progressive and technical territories, but do so without falling into self-indulgent sections that take away from the overall greatness of the song. The final song, is very much more of the same; decent Symphonic Black Metal in the vein of EMPEROR. As the final notes of this album fade away, the listener is left wanting more.

Could this album be improved in any way? In all honesty, I highly doubt it, unless we want to get really pedantic and pointless. This is one of the best new Black Metal records I have heard in a while. There are some Black Metal bands who, every once in a while, release an album that is accessible enough to draw new fans into the genre. HUMUT TABAL have produced such a record in this. With any luck, they will stick to this formula for the next record and the ones that follow it, and with any luck, these guys will earn the recognition that they so readily deserve. If you love Black Metal in its many myriad forms, then there will be something on here for you.

5 Star Rating

1. Across the Boundless Land ov Death
2. Through the Forest and Twisting Shadow
3. Furious Winged Helldaemons Soar
4. Alone, in Purest Silence
5. The Misanthrope ov the Barren Waste Becomes
6. Wielder ov the Daemon Blade
7. In the Shade ov Lord Satan's Wings
8. Dark Emperor ov the Shadow Realm
Njord - Drums
Grimzaar - Guitars, Synths, Vocals
AED - Bass, Accessories
Record Label: Independent


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