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The Underworld Regime

Norway Country of Origin: Norway

The Underworld Regime
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: February 8th, 2010
Genre: Black
1. Devil's Harlot
2. Post Modern Sadist
3. Invoker
4. Perpetual Night
5. Ghosting
6. Acts Of Sin
7. Krigsatte Fane
8. Hill Norge


Review by Frost on December 29, 2021.

Oh, hey! The new Gorgoroth album is out!

Wait, no, this isn't the new Gorgoroth album. It's just Ov Hell....

If you blindfolded me and put Ov Hell's debut on and had me listen to it from start to finish, then asked me to compare it to any Gorgoroth album released prior to Ov Hell's formation, I wouldn't be able to tell you which band is which. Oh, wait! Yes, I could, because Ov Hell is such a blatant copycat, it's not even funny. Every riff on just about every track of this album, you've heard before from "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam" to "Quantos Possut Ad Satanitatem Trahunt" in one variation or another, except done poorly. Good thing even on Infernus' most creatively challenged day, he could create riffs that would piss and shit all over these riffs.

Hell, it's hard to tell Shagrath apart from either Gorgoroth frontman between 2007 and 2010. He's such a underwhelmingly bog standard black metal vocalist. Sure, he's got the snarls and the high-pitched shrieks that sound like he's conjuring demons from the deepest pits of Hell, but there's no bone-chilling force behind his vocals. There's some effects that are thrown on his voice in a few songs in an attempt to suit the atmosphere its trying to present, but they ultimately fail to do anything to capture the listener's attention in any significant way.

Shagrath, Teloch, and some guy named Ice Dale handles guitar duties while King ov Hell provides the mediocre bass work that you can barely hear throughout this thing's short run time. Teloch is probably the only one with any original guitar leads to speak of because some of the most memorable riffs come from the two tracks he provides guitar work for, 'Perpetual Night' and 'Invoker'. By the way, 'Perpetual Night' is probably the most ridiculous track on this thing. If Gorgoroth ever wrote a track like this, they would be laughed at because it's so goddamn cheesy and plays to some prominent clichés within black metal and yet tries to be serious with it in the same breath. I know lots of black metal bands, second wave or otherwise, play up to a lot of established clichés (some for better, some for worse), and there are some that take those tropes, turn them on their head, and make the listener think of them in a brand new light like Deathspell Omega or Blut Aus Nord. Or you have some bands that follow the clichés to the very edge of the abyss, but are so amazing in embracing the over-the-top ridiculousness like Deströyer 666 or Midnight. I found myself laughing when that tired old howling wolf sample snuck in again halfway through the song and Shagrath doing his awkward evil laughter over it. They might as well have had flames burning at the end along with the sounds of innocent people being slaughtered mercilessly while Shagrath does his best Satan impersonation. 'Ghosting' sounds like a less menacing and evil version of “Sign Of An Open Eye,” which is a crime because while Gaahl isn't the best vocalist Gorgoroth ever had, he did a great job on AMSG. “Sign Of An Open Eye” was a pretty solid song. It sucks to hear a less quality knockoff of it on this album.

It's obvious looking back that King ov Hell was infinitely vane during his time in Gorgoroth. I mean, who thinks their role in the band they played in is so important that they try to take the creator and leader of the band to court to get official ownership of the band's name? And King ov Hell was just the bass player for a few albums. What made him and Gaahl have the huge swinging balls to try and swipe ownership from the guy who created the band and has been the creative force behind some of the most classic albums in all of black metal? Obviously, they failed and were gone from the band before Gorgoroth returned with the almighty Pest to release "Quantos Possunt" in 2009, a modern black metal classic.

The Underworld Regime came out a year later, and it shows. Judging by the songwriting and the production, it obviously sounds like ASMG in so many ways, The disgruntled former bassist wanted nothing more than to be Gorgoroth. Instead, however, of trying to forge a new path and create a band with some integrity, strong riffs, and good songwriting, we instead have a namesake copycat band with no integrity, guitar work that Infernus wouldn't even dignify spitting on (mostly because they're second-rate copies of all of his riffs), and pretty lackluster and uninteresting songwriting. If you're even remotely into the most by the numbers black metal imaginable, then give this thing a shot. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and stick with the masters, not the imitators.

Rating: 4.5 out of 10

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