The Konsortium - The Konsortium (AGONIA Records - CD 2011)
I must say that nowadays I not often buy an album - CD or LP - of a band that I hardly know anything about or if earlier I haven't listened to the whole music on mp3 for example or at least one or two songs just to check it out. It's due to the risk of getting shit nowadays, which is so big with so (too) many bands, so many albums released every month that I rather spend my money on something really good and worthy than losing it on something which I won’t be 100% happy with. I don't want to risk and get disappointed by forgettable, lousy recordings, you know? Those I can have on mp3, if I need to. But somehow I did completely against my rule and took a risk with this CD. It's Norwegian The Konsortium and their debut album released by Agonia Records. Why have I done it? Well, I remember I had a chance to listen to The Konsortium's demo few years ago and it was great modern black metal in the vein of Disiplin, Thorns, etc and I loved it. I promised myself to get the CD, as soon as the band releases anything. It took them few years to do so, but finally here it is. Well, the first look on the digipack isn't too convincing, as the whole layout is very basic and simple, everything's in white colour, what looks original, but also too minimalist for my taste. The aura of the cover is very cold, but at the same time I really don't like the front artwork. Weird choice, if you ask me!
As with many other avantgarde black metal albums, also with "The Konsortium" it me took several listens, before I truly started to capture its essence and feeling. It's all because there are some brave ideas and unconventional parts, which may make the orthodox metaller vomit in disgust. But don't be afraid, it's not another Arcturus or whatever. The main skeleton of The Konsortium music remains deeply rooted in the Norwegian black metal and the bands that I've mentioned above, Disiplin especially as well as say Satyricon. The album starts with "Gasmask Prince" and from that moment I can say I've been thrilled with some excellent riffing, as well as some unusual vocals, which I think some of you may find as the most annoying on the whole album, but which give a special atmosphere to it. There are some black metal shrieks, as well as some melancholic singing, agonizing yelling, spoken voices or chanting... Or however you'll name it, they're very diverse. But if the vocals will scare you away from the first song, then you may miss the devastating blasting fury of “Lik Ulven”, great track, which starts with some crushing tempos until the chorus part comes in, where the avantgarde side of The Konsortium music comes forward. I must say that however unusual and weird it sounds, I really like this part and the atmosphere it creates.
“Under the Black Flag” has this riff, which is totally possessing and which also reminds me Disiplin a lot, at parts coming also dangerously close to Satyricon's "Rebel Extravaganza", but the song - played in much slower tempo than the previous one - has an amazing feeling and I can truly say it's hard to resist. The vocals in this track are also some of the best from the whole album. The marching rhythm of "Decomposers" will catch your attention instantly, staying in your head for the whole day, it's like a pestilence you can't get rid off and “Knokkeklang” will beat your face with some light-fast blast beats.
And this is what the whole album is like. It’s very diverse, with weird, but possessing atmosphere and some brilliant riffing. Mind that the whole music is based on guitars, there are no keyboards or samples, which is a surprise, considering how unique and avantgarde sound "The Konsortium" has. But as I already said, here the vocals and guitars are responsible for creating the atmosphere and in that point I must say the band did an awesome job. Norway again proved to be the place, where the best and most challenging black metal albums come from. Of course it takes some bravery as well as certain open mindness from you to listen to such albums as "The Konsortium" and it will be a huge mistake if you start listening to it with an orthodox black metal posture. But I strongly recommend this CD to you, it’s much better than the 1000th version of the usual and boring primitive string torture.
Standout tracks: "Gasmask Prince", "Under the Black Flag", "Decomposers"
Final rate: 85 / 100