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Satanic Warmaster – Aamongandr

Satanic Warmaster
Aamongandr
by Gary Hernandez at 06 February 2023, 5:10 PM

Werwolf (Lauri Penttilä) is a prolific Black Metal multi-instrumentalist out of Lappeenranta, Finland. His contributions and musical credits are longer than we have space to cover here, but one of the more interesting projects he leads is SATANIC WARMASTER. Under this moniker, Werwolf has produced five full-length albums, four EPs, and a shedload of live albums, collaborations, and splits. On December 17, 2021, he released “Aamongandr” on Werewolf Records. It is a raw and essentialist approach to the dark art—a low-fi hellscape of distortion, hurtling drums, and demonic vocals all set to a visceral, melodic rhythm.

First impressions. Full-color cover art by Ken Kelly is stunning. Not quite what you’d expect from a bleak Black Metal album. Seems more like a cover for a Death Metal band, but still very cool. And the fact that SATANIC WARMASTER is led by Werwolf and produced via Werewolf Records makes that raging beast all the more suitable.

The album has six tracks and weighs in at about 37 minutes. Also weighing in are a small host of supporting artists who add to the richness of styles at play. Although you wouldn’t describe the album as lush—it’s just too lo-fi to ever say that—it does have some depth to it. Not your two-dimensional production. For one, you can hear the bass! Second, this isn’t a single tempo assault. There is compositional variation and dark melody woven throughout. It’s cliché to say old school Black Metal, though we could start referencing waves and regions, but “Aamongandr” does takes you back. For Black Metal fans it’s as comforting as a walk through a cemetery in winter contemplating suicide or murder or the collapse of all organized religion.

As a side note, each side of the album bears a title: “Aamon” for side A; “Barbas,” side B. Google Translate tells me “Aamon” is Finnish for “in the morning.” Cool. Makes sense. “Barbas” translates to “barbas.” Yeah, not so useful. Fuck off Google Translate. So, I’m going with Amon = A and Barbas = B. Simple answer for simple folk.

Lyrically, it’s a formulation of pseudo-evocation crossed with hyperbolic old speak which hints at forgotten tongues and forbidden tomes. Good atmosphere but not a convincing narrative. But then again, this is Metal and who really cares. The spirit is there and that’s the core of it. With that said, my favorite tracks are “Duke’s Ride (Ride of the Spectral Hooves)” for the choral/symphonic elements and “Barbas X Aamon” with its multiple movements and predominant Doom vibe.

All in all, “Aamongandr” is a solid album. It recalls Black Metal from a simpler age before all the subgenres sprung up and the purists took guard; back when ‘blackened’ was a way to season fish and not a way to season other styles of Metal. Bottomline: If you’re into any kind of Black Metal, from FW to SW from Suicide to Atmospheric from Finland to Brazil, you’re likely to appreciate “Aamongandr.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Side A – Aamon
1. Bafomet
2. Duke's Ride (…of the Spectral Hooves)
3. Berserk Death

Side B - Barbas
4. The Eye of Satan
5. Darkness… Triumphator
6. Barbas X Aamon
Lineup:
Werwolf - All instruments, vocals

Accompanied By:
Necroterror – Bass guitar
Nattravn – Electric guitar
Grond – Drums, percussion
Trollhorn – Keyboards
Record Label: Werewolf Records
     


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