With eternally haunting melodies, piercing banshee wails and driving death-hammer drums, Finland’s Anguished make their debut mark with Cold. Possessed Demoness, the sole conjurer of these eight dark spells, has summoned a beast that is both dismal and destructive, lending her own unique weaponry to the more familiar ammunition of extreme music.

While never flamboyant, Anguished is never dull, either. Cold wastes no time and attacks without warning, mere moments after the listener presses play.  These Gray Days, the album’s opening assault, nearly takes off your head with its driving rhythm and sharp vocal shrieking. The more traditional and ambient track, Come to Me Satan, carries the listener to the underworld in a frenzy of blast-beat madness. A familiar, yet welcome, double-bass onslaught drives the melody of Depart This Life, just before a harrowing breakdown bleeds a slow death upon the ice-cold floor. September Nights, a lengthy eight minute opus, drags on a bit too long with its well-worn melody and atmosphere.  Getting to the point much sooner, this same atmosphere works better in the closing minutes of the otherwise disposable track, TiredVerival, with a smooth bass guitar introduction, gets under your skin with another melody/rhythm concoction that is best consumed under the soulless light of a winter’s moon.

Cold does a great job of living up to its name and is completely infectious, with simple progressions both completely natural and accidentally epic. Where one track contains vocals that are incomprehensible and favor a blind rage more than actual lyrics, the next may contain spoken word elements or a clean melody sung in an enchanting cry. The title track, however, is a bit of a mystery to me, as I am sure Possessed Demoness intended.  Using a simple “aaahh . . . aaahh . . . aaahh”’ vocal melody over an all-too-familiar chord progression followed by two minutes of “wind sounds,” the track just seems superficial — as an afterthought. Yet, in its simplicity lies also its beauty, decidedly feminine but without a doubt possessed by an unseen force.

Anguished have made a strong debut, as Cold offers a great deal of pain and familiar Black Metal suffering that jaded fans of the genre will appreciate. The melancholy is enough to drown you in and the aggression from this solitary witch is enough to make poseurs-boys cry for mercy.

Step up to the altar!!!