When one legendary black metal act puts out an album of reworked tracks you stop and take notice. When two of Finland’s most influential black metal acts decide to rework songs and put out a split you drop your coffee on the floor and go into catatonic shock. Whatever you think about Werwolf, the guy behind Satanic Warmaster, there’s no denying that he and the boys in Archgoat are absolute monsters of the Finnish metal scene. They are pioneers of the black metal genre; with particular regard to their use of death metal influences. To avoid unsavory topics is to deny their existence and, as history has taught us, denial has never prevented atrocities in this world. Thus, we must face ugly truths head on, and, in the case of Satanic Warmaster, bow to the genius of his musical influence and vision.
There is no denying that the 2014 release Fumbulwinter is the crowning achievement of Satanic Warmaster. The culmination of twenty plus years of making music combined with a cleaner, more distinguishable recording style allowed the complexity of Werwolf’s music to shine for the first time (and, unfortunately much of his lyrics). On Lux Satanae, that cleaner recording style from Fumbulwinter is employed to rework much older material. For example, “Black Destiny” was originally recorded for Opferblut in 2003 but now appears in all its heathen glory. Satanic Warmaster may get all the focus due to political leanings but Werwolf only added four tracks to Lux Satanae, and one of those tracks is a Pest (one of Werwolf’s other bands where he goes by the monicker Nazgul) cover. They come across more melodic than in the past, largely a benefit of a more clean and controlled recording process.
Archgoat, on the other hand, drop nine reworked beauties onto Lux Satanae. Archgoat have long been one of the pioneers, leaders and untouchables in the Finnish black metal scene. Dropping demos in 1991 and album of the year contenders in 2015, they have more than solidified their reputation for no bullshit metal. But it wasn’t until Heavenly Vulva (Christ’s Last Rites, 2011) that Archgoat found a recording style that suited their industrial, warlike, tank cannon sound. In 2015 they dropped The Apocalyptic Triumphator (review here) which made a hearty showing on year end lists. That album cemented the driving, forward marching sound that has made Archgoat absolute kings of Finnish black metal.
On Lux Satanae they have reworked a number of songs from their earlier days. In fact, they have gone all the way back to 1991 to rework and re-record their demo Jesus Spawn in a much more clear, coherent style. They also reworked a few songs off their 1993 demo Penis Perversor. And the result is magnificent. It’s almost as if Archgoat has put out brand new material. The recording style, which matches the clarity and drive from The Apocalyptic Triumphator makes the material feel fresh and new.
So pay special attention to the Archgoat “side” of this split. The tracks are essentially new tracks. The Satanic Warmaster “side” also reveals a sound that’s more melodic than memory serves. Altogether Lux Satanae (Thirteen Hymns of Finnish Devil Worship) is a fresh take on old classics. An album that should help those on the fringes, and those who have yet to dive into the roots of Finnish black metal finally climb up to the highboard and take the plunge.
Lux Satanae (Thirteen Hymns of Finnish Devil Worship) is available 3.4.2016 via Hell’s Headbangers. For more information on Satanic Warmaster check out their Facebook page or Twitter. For more information on Archgoat check out their Facebook page.