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The Black Tower (1996)
 

Released in 1996, The Black Tower is the first official recording from Finland's Warloghe. Emerging from the depths of the Black Metal scene just a year earlier, these guys sound nothing like most of the other bands from their country. One should not expect the chaotic sounds of Beherit, Archgoat or early Impaled Nazarene. As well, this really does not possess the level of Norway-worship that is present in the old recordings from Horna and Behexen, among others. There is an element of that, but mostly Warloghe seems to take inspiration from the French Black Legions.

Musically, this is very dismal and bleak. The guitar melodies are cold and somewhat depressive, emphasized by the bass lines. Of the three real songs on here, only two are well-developed. "Nightly Storms" is rather dynamic, though more fast-paced. The drumming can be a bit sloppy, at times, but this really does not matter. The haunting and melancholic tremolo riffs, as well as the extremely grim vocals, are the main focus and create a very dark feeling. "He Who Comes With the Dawn" is more mid-paced and possesses a very morbid atmosphere. It speeds up, later on, but never for too long. This is the sort of Black Metal that there should be much more of, these days. Grim, ugly and dark.

The production is fairly alright, for a demo. It sounds pretty rough, though is clear enough for the riffs to be heard while still possessing a raw feeling. The guitars are kind of thin, but this helps provide a sharp and cold sound. Drums are not really much of a factor. The bass is, surprisingly, more audible than is often the case. The vocals are a little high, but not so much as to take away from anything. All in all, everything comes together very well.

Warloghe is a band that should be better known in the underground. Fans of Mütiilation and Moonblood would likely appreciate the sort of raw and mournful Black Metal that is present on The Black Tower. It is a shame that these guys vanished after only a few recordings, as they had a much better sense of what this music is about than so many others that will seemingly never die. Seek this out in whatever manner that you must.
 
(12 Aug. 2013)

 
 

Warloghe is a lesser-known Finnish Black Metal band, existing since 1995. Their first E.P., Unlighted, was released in 1997 on Demonion Productions. Listening to this, one almost gets the sense that this band is like a distant relative of the French Black Legions, as they create the same type of atmosphere.

The first song is "Waaslandia", which displays some influence from Vlad Tepes, from the opening moments. The main riff is mid-paced, interspersed with tremolo melodies. After a couple of minutes, things speed up to where one would expect and the sound is slightly reminiscent of Black Funeral's second album, Empire of Blood. This is especially true of the vocals. The playing is a little sloppy, at times, but not to the extent that it distracts from what is going on. The music does well to create imagery of ruined castles, desolate forests and vampiric evil reaching from beyond the grave.

"Foretold Vast Sorceries Unfold" gets off to a shaky start, as the drumming is a little awkward and the song appears to be moving at an inconsistent speed. Once the pace picks up, things smooth out. Though this recording possesses a very raw and underproduced sound, it never breaks down into pure noise. It is very easy to follow the melodies and to hear what is going on. During this song, the vocals hearken back to the early Mütiilation demos, to a degree. There is a sense of desperation in Glaurung's voice that aids the gloomy atmosphere of the song.

Quite short and not terribly original, Unlighted is still worth tracking down for fans of the aforementioned French Black Metal bands. Warloghe really sounds nothing like most of their Finnish peers, though many of them came later anyway. This is far more in line with the LLN bands and even stuff like Moonblood rather than looking to Norway for inspiration.
 
(30 Oct. 2011)

 
 

The First Possession is the debut full-length from Finland's Warloghe. After releasing a demo and an E.P. the band managed to get into contact with Drakkar Productions, who released this album in 1999. It is rather appropriate, since their music seems to have a lot on common with the French Black Legions, at times.

The songwriting for this album is not terribly consistent. Rather than expanding upon the more grim and mournful sounds of The Black Tower or Unlighted, and following the path of the LLN bands that so inspired them, they opted for a safer and more generic approach. It starts out with a couple of unremarkable tracks, but they soon redeem themselves. "Witchcraft and Blood" is exactly what one would expect from Warloghe, though there seems to be a strong Darkthrone influence that was not present before, mixed in with riffs that sound reminiscent of Vlad Tepes. This is followed by "Tower of Flies", which is more mid-paced and possesses a morbid feeling. The vocals come through a lot better and help to create a dark and miserable atmosphere. Unfortunately, the band fails to build on the momentum. After another disappointing song, "Desecration" and "Angelreaper" at least show a bit of promise. Both are fast-paced tracks that rely on the standard high-speed drums and tremolo riffs, though the guitars are not as audible as they should be. By the time "The End of All Life" begins, the Darkthrone influence has completely taken over, sounding like something from Under A Funeral Moon. Still, one must also keep in mind that 1999 was a rotten time for Black Metal, so any band that was keeping a pure and raw sound was very much needed, even if the compositions lack originality.

The production is a bit of a detriment, as it seems the band recorded these songs in different sessions. Some of the songs are alright, but others are plagued with problems. The drums are a bit too loud, which would not be such a bad thing, except for the hollow sound that becomes very distracting and annoying. The vocals are too low, on several, reducing the grim effect that they added on the earlier releases. The guitars are just kind of in the middle, accomplishing very little. This album would have benefited from a different mix, placing more emphasis on the guitars and vocals.

Warloghe's debut album is not as good as it could have been. Some of the songs seem underdeveloped and include ideas that do not mesh well with the rest. The arrangement of the record is poor, also, starting out with two of the weaker tracks. Nonetheless, the bulk of the material delivers grim, old school Black Metal that does well to live up to the potential shown on the previous releases. During a time when many bands were experimenting with various outside influences and others were going toward a total synth route, The First Possession was a refreshing dose of uncompromising darkness that held true to those that came before.
 
(20 Aug. 2013)

 
 

Released in 2003, Womb of Pestilence is the second full-length album from Warloghe. In the four years between releases, the band managed to correct some of the problems that plagued the previous album and held it back from being as good as it could have been. The material here sounds like more of a natural continuation of what they began with The Black Tower and Unlighted, much moreso than The First Possession. This is one of those times when a band actually realized their potential, rather than disappointing.

Musically, this is much darker than anything on their first record. This is what many were expecting the last one to sound like. The songwriting is much more focused and there are no throwaway tracks. This is clear from the moment "Opened and Tainted Graves" begins. There is a sense of urgency and, most of all, feeling to the riffs. Everything fits together, cohesively, to create a very dark and gloomy atmosphere. Songs like "Fires Burn Black" really hearken back to the old Mütiilation demos and bring forth an ancient darkness to consume you whole. The compositions are more complete and dynamic, rather than each song being rather one-dimensional. There is still a rather straightforward approach, though with subtle additions that do a lot for the music, such as the slow sections in "Illuminating Void" and "Dark Spires Swirl in the Abyss". There are also slight changes in the drumming, here and there, that help to keep the songs from being too monotonous. The vocals sound much more possessed than on the last record, particularly the hellish wailing on "Corpse-Altar-Light". The effect is reminiscent of the demonic voices from 'The Evil Dead', but in a very serious manner. While some of the tremolo melodies on the last offering were a bit generic and failed to move the listener in any way, the riffs that make up Womb of Pestilence serve to haunt you and to create a very unsettling feeling that is sure to drag your spirit into the depths.

The production is more consistent and suits the music a lot more, compared to the last album. The guitars possess a very raw and, sometimes, grating quality that are likely to make your ears bleed if you turn the volume up. This is what an underground Black Metal album should sound like, as if it was recorded in some forgotten crypt. The vocals are high enough in the mix, throughout, rather than sometimes being buried as on the previous L.P. The drums are at a more appropriate level, as well, no longer dominating the sound. The guitars are firmly in control as the dominant element, as they should be, and the music benefits greatly from this. At a time when a lot of bands were going for a completely modern and plastic production, Warloghe's sophomore effort sounds like it could have been recorded a decade earlier.

Womb of Pestilence is a very solid album that deserves to be known much more than it is. This is what Mütiilation might have sounded like, around the same time, if Meyhna'ch had a real drummer and hadn't recorded his albums with such modern methods. Though some bands try very hard to proclaim themselves the standard-bearers of Black Metal, whoring themselves out in every possible way, Warloghe was simply keeping the black flame burning in a genuine manner, by creating dark and evil music that has stood the test of time. This should appeal to fans of the old LLN bands, such as Mütiilation, as well as modern Finnish bands like Sargeist and Horna. Buy this.
 
(21 Aug. 2013)
















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