SATANIC WARMASTER – WE ARE THE WORMS THAT CRAWL ON THE BROKEN WINGS OF AN ANGEL (Werewolf/Hells Headbangers)
There’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing exactly what an album will sound like by looking at its cover. I can still remember being a teenager and seeing the cover of Darkthrone’s A Blaze in the Northern Sky staring at me ominously from the CD rack in the metal section. At the time, I was too chicken to carry an album like that up to the counter and buy it, much less have it be discovered by my parents in my collection. Especially after being sat down and talked to after my father found the cassette of Venom’s Welcome to Hell, with its ominous head of Baphomet and pentagram staring up at him, in my stack of cassette tapes at the time.
Well over 20 years and hundreds of hours of listening later, black metal no longer has the same shock value it did in 1993, at least for me, but what it does still have is the ability to transport the listener to another place and time, and to do that with a knowing wink and the occasional chill of the spine. Enter Finnish one-man band Satanic Warmaster’s latest release, We Are The Worms That Crawl On The Broken Wings Of An Angel. Billed as a compilation of tracks from various split ep releases and weighing in at a whopping 75 minutes and change, the album covers the first 20 years of main visionary Werwolf’s career, which began in 1998, not too long after the 2nd wave of black metal’s luminaries turned the metal world upside down, one album and controversy, to put it mildly, at a time.
Satanic Warmaster has this sound and style down pat, and fly the flag high, Werwolf describes himself as being “motivated exclusively by theistic Satanist views,” and espousing a Nietzschesque “black metal is Will and Power (sic).” I must say, he completely delivers. Press play and it’s suddenly as if you’re in Helvete circa 1992. Werwolf has absorbed the sound of the Norwegians, and the astute listener will here cues from Darkthrone, Mayhem, and pre-In the Nightside Eclipse era Emperor, amongst others. Opening track ‘Satan’s Race’ (which I was sorely disappointed is not about a grim and frostbitten, Mario Kart-style actual go-kart race) and its follow up, ‘Hold On To Your Dreams’ (which is, sadly, NOT a chilling and lo-fi take on a Disney ballad) kick the album off with a bang. ‘March of the Legion Werwolf’ swings, and ‘Six Million Tears’ has some bass work reminiscent of Mayhem’s Necrobutcher. We are treated to eerie keyboards, chilling screams and groans, blast beats, razor-sharp guitars, and the lo-fi production we all come to expect with any ‘trve kvlt’ black metal expression.
The track that really stands out to me is the acoustic (yes, acoustic) version of ‘The Burning Eyes of the Werewolf.’ I never thought I’d hear a purely acoustic take on black metal, but after hearing this I’d love to hear a completely acoustic album. With vocals reminiscent of Abbath and an almost festive, umpah umpah rhythmic pattern, I’ll admit to enjoying myself quite a bit and cracking a broad smile as I listened the first time. Smiling in black metal? Yes, when this music casts its spell and gets ahold of you, it often leads to a smile, at least for me. It was exactly the experience I had upon hearing Darkthrone’s ‘In the Shadow of the Horns’ for the first time.
We Are The Worms That Crawl On The Broken Wings Of An Angel accomplishes what it aims to do, and serves as a fine introduction to Werwolf’s body of work. This is a must add to any black metal fan’s collection. It is out now on Werwolf/Hells Headbangers. Bloodrock Media Rating: 4 out of 5 axes
01: Satan’s Race
02: Hold On To Your Dreams
03: March Of The Legion Werwolf
04: Six Million Tears
05: Taistelukenttien Kärsimykset
06: A Hymn For The Black Empire
07: The Chant Of The Barbarian Wolves
09: Nameless Sacrifice
10: Dead Light Of A Lost Star
12: Where Eternity Awaits
13: The Burning Eyes Of The Werewolf
14: The Majesty of Wampyric Blood
15: Lords And Tyrants
16: Black Metal Death
Werwolf – All Instruments
Written by Andy Cook for Bloodrock Media on January 22, 2018