Granted, it is like rocket science has turned into "One-Man Black Metal for Dummies" when it comes to going it alone on an album these days, but there is still a lot to be said about making a disc sound like a full band recorded it. Such is the case with "Worship or Die" from Algol's HIEMS. The FORGOTTEN TOMB soldier has crafted a dandy, one that takes the black metal blueprint and constructs a collection a songs with memorable melodies, industrial tinged power grooves, and bleak atmospherics. It is one of the better releases from the mighty Moribund Cult that you'll hear in this year of our lord, 2009.
Highlights abound and the Italian fellow really knows how to throw a lasting groove into songs like "I" and "Scum Destroyer". Bringing brains and brawn to the party, the former moves from relentless BM ferocity to a goth-y mid paced section with softer vocals, while the latter drives hard with a little SATYRICON ("Volcano" era) steroid-pumped muscle, as is the also the case with the even tougher "Wounds Just Death Can Heal". As a matter of fact, the chorus is so catchy that I woke up this morning with the thought that it is not outside the realm of possibility that I may be the Scum Destroyer. Either that or the spell cast by the song is designed to wreak havoc on the subconscious. That must be it. There is so much more at work here though. "W.O.F." comes with that same kind of refrain, one that gets into the blood stream and stays there. The interesting part is that it's an eight-minute cut that moves so efficiently, even with breaks for sections of spoken lyrics and airy guitars, that running time is never given a thought.
It is the album's last three songs where you'll really hear Algol's creative juices flowing like the Mississippi. The song "Hiems" freezes blood with eerie chords and sinewy bass lines before Algol busts out some hot 'n bluesy organ playing, which is one of the album's first truly "wow" moments. It continues for the duration of "290979", leading to a classic '70s-style rock piece with husky clean vocals called "Race with the Devil" that'll make you wonder if the guy enlisted the assistance of Jon Lord (DEEP PURPLE) and just didn't credit him. It is the capstone "wow" moment.
More than anything else, "Worship or Die" rocks hard and leaves a deep impression. Moribund will also be reissuing HIEMS' "Cold Void Journey" debut in double-CD format, which will also include the first three demos on the second disc. My interest now fully piqued, it is with anticipation that I wait. Don't overlook this "band."