I quickly went back inside and took a CD from the Satanath-pile, by coincidence one by Spanish black metal act Chains Ov Beleth. I expected brutal and chaotic black metal but I was pleasantly surprised by the sounds coming from my speakers. Although this was still eerie and haunting black metal, it sounded mature, varied and quite melodic. The band has been around since 2005 and apparently, they made quite an evolution over the years.
The album blends harsh black metal with dark rock, a bit like Darkthrone meets Fields Of The Nephilim or something. The atmosphere is dark, much like many of the vintage blackened hordes from Scandinavia. Yet, often the songs turn into uptempo, clean sung pieces of dark rock, something I really dig. This combination highlights on opener 'Black Wings Spread Wide' and the awesome song 'Spirit Of Guidance - Darkness Eternal'.
'Thrice Named, Thrice Cursed' is another excellent mid-tempo blackened rock song, probably the most immersive one on this album. Perhaps I can place it in line with albums by acts like Old Man's Child, for example, but without the atmospheric keyboard passages. Somehow, Chains Ov Beleth doesn't need keyboards to create this bleak atmosphere. This act does that with varied old school musical extremity, which works just as well.
So yes, this album works well. There is plenty of variation, both in tempo shifts and in alternating vocals. This stuff truly deserves a place in every black metal fan's collection, except maybe the ones who go for constant blast-beats and screams. Both are present here, but the whole is much more complex. My recommendation: check it out, this simply is an excellent black metal album from an ever-evolving act.