The early releases of this Finnish outfit are extremely raw, filled with depressive riffs. On the later works of the band the production values are raised to an extent and the music suffers from it. Let's see how this album is the end of an old era.
As I mentioned earlier, the production is raw here like on the debut and the EPs in between, this being the last one to feature such anti-production. The atmosphere perfectly fits some of the tracks but not all of them. The vocals are less in the foreground as they used to be and the mix is dominated by the guitars. The drumming is good but serves no specific functions. Low frequencies are almost nonexistent (even with a subwoofer) but this isn't as much of a problem.
All tracks were written by Lord Sagrofagian, half of them being decent while the rest are enjoyable but also forgettable. The first track starts with an awesome riff bearing powerful emotions, the song also has some clean vocals strengthening the atmosphere further. The album has memorable riffs all over the album, the next one being the chorus of "The Worshipper". The next song (Names of the Dead Souls) also has its moments, actually many of them are pure gold, making this one of the blackened stars of this release. The title track is overly religious. Its start might be not as great as others but the song builds up as the listener continues their journey in it. After a slower section chants for Satan can be heard and after more riffs you will understand why this song is played live. Enjoyment of this release increases exponentially as the track finishes and you're wondering if it can be any better after this. It can. The finishing masterpiece titled "The Path of New Era" has the best main riff I've ever heard in any guitar-based music. The other sections of this track are also really good and create a great composition altogether. You can find no mistakes here, this track is perfect, although the second part with the slow guitars might seem as unnecessary and have been better as a separate outro but that's just a minor thing.
Unless you're a big fan of Baptism this is the last release worth getting. Not as consistent as the debut album but the lighlights easily overshine the mediocre parts. If you like raw (and depressive) black metal with a strong Satanic message, then there's no reason why you should miss this album.
The LP version has a different track order and the second track is replaced by another song. The last 2 tracks have so strong connection as it's hard to understand why they were separated on vinyl (maybe because that's how it fits). The other track (Soil of Decay) is not available online. The vinyl version is almost impossible to track down, I gave up searching for it. Let the 500 individuals who possess them enjoy them.
My choice of song is obvious here, its lyrics were not released.