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Through Thick Fog 'till Death

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Album Review

You know you're getting old when an album cover seems in terribly bad taste — even one depicting a leather, spike and corpse makeup-festooned individual holding a knife to the throat of a semi-naked girl covered in fake blood and kneeling in a graveyard — or maybe you're just joining the rest of the human race. In any case, this and the other images displayed on Urgehal's fourth album, Through Thick Fog Till Death, could very well represent the visual aesthetic of pure, unadulterated, misanthropic Norwegian black metal in an encyclopedia. As could, upon closer inspection, its mostly unsurprising musical contents — think Darkthrone and Tsjuder — and, completing the nasty ensemble, predictably evil song titles such as "Possessed (Raped by Evil)" and "Satanic Deathlust" and "Supreme Blasphemy." Fact is, Urgehal have been working at this bleak black metal game for well over a decade, and the secret to their resilient power lies not in sidestepping its timeworn clichés or avoiding self-parody — they do both, repeatedly — but in providing truly impressive songwriting chops despite these transgressions. Admittedly, the line marking this distinction is a tenuous one, but there's no denying that standout material like the title track, obligatory Norwegian-sung number "Dod Dod Og Atter Dod," and the war-mongering epic "Invasion" (introduced by the sounds of advancing tanks), qualify as authentic necro-black metal of the highest order. Also consider the four bonus live tracks (curiously marked by what sounds like a drum machine) that were added to the Southern Lord reissue (the original came out overseas in 2003), and Through Thick Fog Till Death becomes a very worthwhile example of its genre — and almost justifies that album cover, if such a thing was possible.


Formed: 1992 in Hønefoss, Norway

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Formed in 1992, in the town of Hønefoss, by Trondr Nefas (screeches, lead guitar) and Enzifer (aka Mr. T.L. Messiah, rhythm guitar), Urgehal are true, necro-Norwegian black metal poster boys -- and that means corpse paint, scary costumes, leather and spikes, the works! Early demos from 1994 and 1995 saw the group complemented by bassist Chiron and keyboard player Aradia, but her services were soon dispensed with and it wasn't until the release of their 1997 debut album, Arma Christi, that Urgehal...
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Through Thick Fog 'till Death, Urgehal
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