A mysterious arrival from an equally mysterious act, Orthodox Impaler brings us their debut Pilgrimage of Hate and Mutilation. A pure and raw black metal release with cold production and an equally raw approach that harkens back to the olden days. While I can’t speak much of the band themselves, what they present is all that is needed to understand. Pure hatred to all the living, as black metal should be.
There’s no gimmicks or messing around with this release. Everything here is pure and as authentic as possible. From the drums having a deep and very natural sound to them, from the ripping guitars and vocals that meld together to create a gnarly wall of noise that is incredibly addicting to listen to. The overall production is well put together too, giving it that authentic analog feel that is suitable for black metal. While, it is a rather textbook approach with the riffage, nothing here seems to be lifted from another band, but more so influences. This could’ve easily had been some album from the Norwegian second wave and I would’ve accepted that. The bass as well plays an important and creative role in this, clearly giving that guitar an extra push in terms of the impact the sound has. The vocals, as mentioned before, meld very well with the guitars, but when given the proper attention, they’re performed in sometimes overly dramatic ways that reminds me of certain passages from Lifelover, but they’re mainly snarled and cold growled vocals that add to the overall bleak atmosphere the complete package produces.
This album is the perfect example of, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ in the context of black metal. Its your tried and true approach that so many people want to change and defile to attempt to make something that’s ‘new’ or tries to set themselves apart from others. But it gets to a point where it becomes the main focus of the album. On Pilgrimage, however, its a clear authentic approach that, from as far as I can tell, is something that the band clearly wanted to express and pure black metal was the perfect way to do so. Orthodox Impaler are able to truly honor the black metal genre and create something new and fresh but still sticking to tradition and not needing to sully it with added synths or needless cross-genre applications. Sometimes pure, raw black metal is all you need.
Overall, Orthodox Impaler I think have made quite the impact within the underground with this release. Sticking to traditional and raw black metal, they’ve created something that I’ve sorely missed and reminded me why I love this genre to begin with. Expressing pure rage, hatred and emotion in such a raw and authentic way with a catchy sound to boot. I highly recommend any and all black metal listeners to give this album a spin, you surely won’t be disappointed.