Armagedda were, when they arrived on the scene, a breath of fresh air for Black Metal. A two-piece Swedish band, they lasted only four years, releasing three full-length albums and a few other bits and pieces before they called it a day, but they made sure that they created a firm impact with their solid take on absolutely pure, ‘trve’ Black Metal.
Their first album was a little unsure of itself, the band feeling their way around and dipping their toes in the dark water, but their second album “Only True Believers”, released in 2003, came out with fists flying and eager to destroy everything in its path. The scene, by that point, was heavily diluted and watered down, so A. (guitars and bass) and Graav (guitars and vocals) made sure that they were ahead of the pack by looking back and utilising all the strong points of the genre.
Ultimately, the album is Darkthrone-worship of the highest order with Armagedda’s own personality and tasty production added to the brew. The guitars are super-tight and heavy (with a punky edge and riffs up the wazoo), the vocals are nasty and evil, and the drums (courtesy of one Erik Danielsson of Watain fame) are intense and fuelled by hatred. Songs such as “Emperor From The Eternal Dark”, “Poetry From A Poisoned Mind”, and title track are classic Black Metal from the second-wave school, and the ambient album-closer, “Ghostwood”, leaves the listener with an eerie vibe.
Since this is a re-release, I was expecting a remaster job, but the sound isn’t much different to the original (not a huge issue as it was stellar in the first place) and there are two bonus tracks, “Domedagens Triumf” and a cover of Satyricon’s “Night Of The Triumphator”, both of which are solid and sit nicely with the rest of the album, if not entirely necessary.
It’s always great to see underground classics get the attention they deserve, and “Only True Believers” is a darling in Black Metal circles. With such a release, hopefully more and more of the newer generation of fans will be exposed to the grandeur of a band that came and went in the blink of an eye, but most definitely left an indelible mark on the history of the genre with this slab of (black) magic. (JohnM)