Under That Spell - Official Website


Germany Country of Origin: Germany

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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: January 15th, 2010
Genre: Black
1. Rise
2. Below
3. I Am the Prophet
4. Under That Spell
5. Black
6. Their Last Creation
7. The Final March
8. The Eldest Name Of God
9. Apotheosis

Review by Felix on June 27, 2024.

Under That Spell came out of the blue, released two albums and vanished quickly into thin air again. Usually I do not like this kind of one-hit-wonder, because I think that stamina is a quality convinced metal musicians should have. On the other hand, it is better to release two great albums than 20 bad ones. Greetings to some bands whose name I don’t want to mention here. This wouldn’t be fair towards Six Feet Under…

“Apotheosis” works from beginning to end. It is powerful, non-fickle, clearly defined and straight. To be precise, it is straight in executing the artistic vision of main composer and guitar player Dionysos, not only with regard to the song structures. They avoid overly complex patterns, but there is enough variation to keep the material interesting. The average velocity is high, but not absurdly fast, and there is no icy mood, but a feeling of being exposed to the violent forces of nature. Under That Spell do not use keyboards for atmospheric background lines. So what, they are able to create really ominous lines with the guitar and from time to time the album has an almost industrial character – without hurting the rules of black metal, of course. But there is a thrash metal moment in the centre of “Black”. The break at 3:09 minutes with its aimlessly howling guitars reminds me strongly of the Slayer’s transition from “Postmortem” to “Raining Blood”. Only the characteristic triple strikes of Daver Lombardo are missing. (By the way, any Slayer reunion concert without him is nonsense, but that’s another story.)

However, let’s get back to the main aspects of “Apotheosis”. Despite the album’s title, the band members do not turn into divine creatures, but their material deserves respect. All songs after the comparatively irrelevant intro contribute to the controlled vehemence that characterises the album. Sad, wistful or desperate lines do not shape this work, even though two songs surprise with a calm ending. Under That Spell have dedicated their souls to black metal without any kind of diluting or infantile elements. Especially a song like “The March” shows that this approach can bring the hellish core of the sub-genre to life. It is a stoically flowing, incredibly dense and nearly apocalyptic number. Its lyrics consist only of a handful of lines, but at least one of them (“Life is a burden”) fits the music perfectly.

“Apotheosis” is not just a very well produced debut with a modern, vigour and natural sound. It also belongs to the very appreciated works that do not run out of good songs the longer the album lasts. The thrilling melody lines accompany the listener during the entire 45 minutes and I never have the feeling that one of the songs has been put on the tracklist just to make the album complete. The dedication of the artists shimmers through each and every piece and with that said, it is only logical that the closing title track holds one of the most aggressive and best guitar works. With hyperspeed sections and total ecstasy, Under That Spell bring the album to a more than worthy end. Okay, the band did not have the stamina of some losers, but if we could shift the desire for reunions from some other bands to Under That Spell, it would help everyone. Once again, I do not mention names. Otherwise I would get into trouble with Vendetta.

Rating: 8 out of 10