If you heard the Evil Return EP, you already know the direction the band has taken: true black metal with a little hint of thrash. The EP serves as a preview and while it's really enjoyable it's nothing compared to this full-length.
The sound became heavy with the bass being quite high in the mix. The mix itself is powerful and brings an evil atmosphere that follows you through the whole album. Every instrument is played with skill. The drums are pounding blastbeats for most of the time but not exclusively, remaining interesting. Vocals are agressive and powerful, the guitars are heavily distorted but never thin.
If you only knew the band's previous releases you'll be surprised by the amount of originality in the songwriting. Every instrument empowers the others, dragging you into the darkest pits of hell like never before. The guitar riffs are memorable and you will be surprised by the amount of solos here since they aren't often utilized in black metal. The album has both slow and fast solos, sometimes combined, at other times being midtempo leads.
Standout tracks? It's really hard to choose because the whole album is strong and consistent. The start of the album already shows its potential which it fully satisfies. Nights in the Cursed Chapel has the highest amount of lead sections while Blessed by Hellfire is memorable because of its chorus. Vomit Up the Blood of Jesus has a strong antichristian vibe to it and not only because of the title. Shadows of the Dead brings the occult to the table. The Final Strike of Doom has the most dynamic section, perfectly illustrating the quote "even the heavens shall burn when we are gathered" (of Bathory fame). The last song is slow, spreads bone-chilling mood of death and funeral while keeping the evil tone you're already familiar with.
Should you listen to this album? Definitely. If you don't like Darkthrone-esque black metal or DSBM exclusively, you will love this. This is the best effort of the band by far, I dare to say the best black metal album of 2008 and the most evil metal album I've ever heard.
Enter the dawn
Let's sing for them
Watching the heavens
Go down in flames