Misotheist – For the Glory of Your Redeemer Review

Remember dangerous Norwegian black metal? Remember when just listening to it felt like an act of rebellion? The stuff that made priests and your parents upset? Me neither. Those days seem like a long time ago; the original fury replaced by bands passively crowd-surfing on the reputation and mystique of old. Well, Misotheist, an anonymous black metal group from Trondheim, is here to kick you in balls, spit in your face, and remind you that God is dead and you should quit crying about it. I reviewed Misotheist, its 2019 debut, and although I gave it a low score, there was something uniquely malevolent hiding beneath the weird production and meandering song structures. At its best, it felt maniacally unhinged and sometimes, yes, dangerous. It also reminded me of the original Batushka in its overt disdain for religion. I was therefore interested in the follow-up. There was promise, and with a lot of black metal feeling blunted these days, the scene was set for something special.

Misotheist was a slippery, evil, viscous-covered abomination born of a blighted womb. For the Glory of Your Redeemer finds this monstrosity becoming mobile and baring teeth. It takes the stone-cold fury and malevolence of its predecessor and beefs it up with better production and tighter songwriting. Imagine the cavernous dissonance of Icelandic bands like Sinmara or Svartidauði, the evil atmosphere of Mayhem, and the vocals of a sewer creature smoking 50 a day. Over 3 songs and 30 minutes, Misotheist crams more fury, riffs and malevolence than many contemporaries with collections twice as long.

The first notable improvement is that the songwriting is now much more cohesive. Misotheist felt like a bunch of interesting vignettes, jumbled up like a rambling story by a drunken uncle at Thanksgiving. FtGoYR is, for the most part, far more disciplined and organized. The opening two tracks each highlight a different strength of the band, from disquieting dissonance in “Rope and Hammer,” to unbridled fury in “Benefactor of Wounds.” Misotheist is tremendous at both of these, capturing a sense of malevolence rarely seen in modern metal. These openers are intense, cohesive and dripping with evil. When the band sneers, “Bow Down… For the Glory of Your Redeemer,” on “Benefactor of Wounds,” the disdain is like metallic blood on the tongue. Special credit must once again go to the anonymous vocalist. Even by black metal standards, this is an abrasive, compelling performance, and it enhances the ominous atmosphere surrounding this music no end.

The only real niggle I have with FtGoYR is its final track, “Acts of the Flesh.” At 16 minutes long, it’s here that Misotheist’s reach occasionally exceeds its grasp. The openers have a clear identity, emphasizing the band’s core strengths. They are lean and taut. “Acts of the Flesh,” on the other hand, while still hugely impressive, sometimes finds the Norwegians losing focus. An overly long introduction, and a final section that just slowly meanders along in a dream-like fashion, stand in stark contrast to the disciplined tracks that preceded it. I admire the ambition to even attempt something like “Acts of the Flesh,” but a part of me wishes we had two shorter, more clearly focused songs instead. A 30 minute album cannot afford bloat, and FtGoYR avoids it entirely… until parts of the final track.

Norwegian black metal has a deservedly fearsome reputation. Its identity is spliced into the DNA of much of the modern black metal we listen to today. Its star has, in recent years, been eclipsed by its Scandinavian neighbor, Iceland. Well, Misotheist is here to claim it back through sheer malevolent force of will. FtGoYR is frightening, dark, intense, glorious black metal. It’s also an astonishing step up from the interesting, but flawed, Misotheist. If the band’s ambition occasionally causes it to stumble, well… I can live with that. Metal is not the genre for playing it safe. FtGoYR is being unleashed on the same day that a hugely influential European neighbor (The Ruins of Beverast) releases another impressive album. Mutterings on the street are that this is better. Batten down the hatches. It is.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Terratur Possessions
Website: Too kvlt for the internet
Releases Worldwide: February 5th, 2021

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