Author: Jan Jakobsen
Label: Season of Mist
Norwegian trio Tsjuder have been playing the black metal game for quite a long time now. Starting up in 1993, surfing along the already big black metal wave crashing through Norway, and Europe in general, they did not release their first LP before 2000. Kill for Satan was mediocre in every sense. Other bands like Marduk and Dark Funeral had already released better albums in the same aggressive vein. In 2004, with their third album, Desert Northern Hell, Tsjuder finally found their stride. An universally praised black metal classic, merging the aggressive Tsjuder sound with more and better riffs, longer tracks and just better songwriting in general. There was a take-no-prisoners attitude on Desert Northern Hell that few black metal bands manage to recreate, relentless aggression from start to finish, but still managing to sneak in some melodies here and there.
Tsjuder called it quits two years after their brilliant Desert Northern Hell and many were surprised when Tsjuder announced their return to black metal with 2011’s Legion Helvete. Now, four years after their return, Tsjuder are back with Antiliv (Antilife). The album starts off with, Kaos (Chaos), a kick in your balls, wasting no time in annihilating your speakers with ferocious and violent black metal. Krater (Crater) has a much stronger sense of rhythm and melody as compared to the opening track, still extremely aggressive of course, this is Tsjuder we’re talking about after all. If anything, Krater reminds of Casus Luciferi era Watain, managing to blend in melodic parts in addition to the aggression. Norge continues in the vein of Kaos where speed and violence are the most important aspects. I do think Tsjuder are smart when they choose specific songs, mainly the longer ones, to highlight that they also manage to blend in catchy melodies in addition to the brutality. This makes the melodic breaks flow a lot more natural, as opposed to breaking up the feel of the songs.
Djevelens Mesterverk (The Devil’s Masterpiece) is possibly the highlight of the album. Relentless speed, akin to Under the Sign of the Black Mark era Bathory, in addition to an easy to follow chorus makes for a very impressive track that will surely go down well live. Tsjuder are one of the few black metal bands where I believe a moshpit feels natural and most of the tracks on Antiliv will really make your blood boil. The title track is an homage to classic heavy metal, to legendary acts such as Mercyful Fate and Satan. The main riffs are more in line with early 80’s metal than anything else. When the track starts to come to an end, the heaviness is upped, adding foreign percussion to make the ending track feel like an epic one, which is something Tsjuder definitely succeeds with in this case.
Antiliv is not a revolutionary black metal album. It’s Tsjuder and if you’re familiar with their previous attempts, you already know what to expect, but the overall songwriting quality is better than most of their previous attempts. It’s still not quite on the same level as Desert Northern Hell, but it’s as close they have come yet. Well worth a listen even if you’ve never been a particularly big fan before.
- Jan Jakobsen
Check ‘em out: http://www.tsjuder.com/