Grimbane Let The Empires Fall

With vocal and guitar duties handled by Blasphemy alumni Barbarous, one might expect something a little more North American in tone. While certain tracks incorporate hooks and mid-tempo rock riffing, the overall feel of Let the Empires Fall is distinctly Scandinavian. Coming across as a more diverse and polished Darkthrone much of the time, the onslaught doesn’t let up except to annoy the listener with a few too many Satanic spoken word interludes. The songs are catchy, varied and surprisingly accessible, with a piercing yet audible production. Vocally, the distinctive croak of Immortal’s Abbath is evoked masterfully, adding another dimension of second-wave black metal worship. With Immortal’s reunion on the horizon, and Darkthrone still pumping ’em out yearly, the necessity of this record is debatable, but genre fans will no doubt have a place for it in their collections. (Moribund)