Here’s another killer dose of Quebecois Metal Noir for your ears. Unlike the more known Forteresse,Monarque, Neige et Noirceur , which are all more atmospheric black metal Blackscorn. Blackscorn is pretty much raw pagan metal with more emphasis on fusing gnarling spit spewing vocals and a very classic lo-fi production with distinct folk/pagan melodies that don’t diffuse the aggression and ferocity that can be easily drowned into obscurity through too much atmosphere and drone.
“Vengeful Goddess” has a very traditional 90’s pagan black metal vibe that doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, BUT once you actually listen to it the subtleties will begin to emerge. “Wolves Upon Men” is less pagan and more cryogenic frostbitten 90’s black metal with a constant pulse of rhythm and the way the song is structured it literally does feel as if it’s one of the original black metal songs from some demo or comp 20 years ago. The arpeggios are blazing but minimal in technicality, the rhythm and lead guitars are saturated in distorted treble, the drums are steady and crisply mechanical, and the vocals are raspy and build up into the howling drawn out “RRRRRRWWRAAAAAAAA” here and there. Everything about this song, and album, screams old Immortal, Gorgoroth, Graveland, Satyricon… but yet there’s still things that differ with Blackscorn upon further listening.
Blackscorn don’t play upon cliché, they stick to their roots and yet they still blast out some decent rhythm patterns that give songs like “Hex and Spellcraft” a savory twist in sound from a standard black metal platform but only just enough to divert, not enough to distract and interrupt their style. Pagan Sacrifice is not for the pretentious asshole or elitist, it’s for the true black metal listener that wants that original sound and feel. You put on the epic closer “Crushing Heaven’s Throne/Frozen Majesty” and you get over 12 minutes of rusted gritty folk melodies buried behind the ghoulish vocals which are actually in front as opposed to behind and yet there’s still something harrowing and majestic to it. If you’re looking for full on Tolkien, orchestral shit, technicality, and /or dramatic production aiming for sophistication then Blackscorn will fry your eardrums with their sizzling distortion.
All in all, this would be better if it were on tape or LP as the warmth of the distortion and the thickness of the sound really deserves that natural format, but even on CD it’s a worthy choice for those who stay close to the traditional Nordic fury like I do.