Posthum – The Black Northern Ritual

posthum

Indie Recordings, 2014

9/10 Antti Mikonmäki

This is definitely a welcome storm of some more experimental but cosy black metal stuff. At first Posthum sound like they are from the US or maybe the UK, but they are of course from the original land of creative black metal, Norway. They’ve released their first demo in 2005 so they are not totally new to the scene. With a quick listen their earlier two full-lengths sound quite similar to this their latest effort, although they may have increased the different elements of other musical styles in the music (besides the obvious) when maturing. It’s no wonder a quality label like Indie Recordings has picked up the band to their ranks.

Right from the beginning we get the impression these guys have a lot of experience from different music styles when it comes to playing and executing their own brand of black metal. This album takes the elements of norwegian blackness and metal in general, and makes them into something a bit more stylish and interesting, kinda in the way bands like Altar Of Plagues did on their last release, but more varied in styles.

The album has great arrangement in strong structures. Things are interesting and imaginative throughout the whole album. It has a lot of great parts and ideas, some of which might have been done a bit better, but are far from being bad as they are now. Sounds are also great to this style of music. Clear and of good quality but not too overly produced to keep the black metal feeling going on.

The vocals are quite original for a change. They are nothing but basic black metal screams, but the vocalist has an original voice very rarely heard, without any effects, bringing to mind Ihsahn in their execution. Perhaps a question of taste because of their personal sound, but if you like them, they will suit the music perfectly. The guitar riffs are quite simple but forged into songs with imagination and creativity, featuring ideas from many different styles. The drums, just like the guitars and vox, sound like they are played with ease, comfortably, with skill but not too much aggression or trying. Beats from other styles of music besides metal, for example some punk, appear here and there.

This album has so many different moments, sometimes bringing to mind a stripped down rocking version of Emperor, sometimes old Carpathian Forest with modern production, sometimes just some cool progressive death or black metal from the early nineties like Tiamat, sometimes even progressive punk like Refused or post-metal punk like Cult Of Luna, but all with a personal Posthuman vibe. Not a single boring part on the album, offering a much awaited re-listening value.

This kind of music appeals probably mostly to a modern metal listener who can listen to the above-mentioned stuff at the same time. It will appeal to those who want something more out of their black metal experience than just old Burzum. Then again, if you are into a more simple and straightforward approach, this might be bit too diverse for you, but still I urge you to try it out. And to everyone with an open mind and imagination and love for music, this is a highly recommended black metal album! Everyone should also definitely check out their earlier stuff!