(Southern Lord)

01. Soiled
02. When the Blood Turns Black
03. Kontamination (Nothing But Hatred)
04. Poisoned Mind Haemoth
05. Famished
06. Stigma Diabolikum
07. Dependence
08. Aversion
09. Defects and Perversion

RATING: 8/10

Limited to 2,000 hand-numbered copies, Southern Lord offers to the grim U.S. black metal masses "Kontamination" from France's HAEMOTH. A limited edition (300 copies) picture disc was also issued, but has sold out. The "as real as it gets" cliché truly applies in the case of this incredibly abrasive blast of black metal decimation. The album either causes severe frostbite or melts the flesh of those folks brave enough to enter the lair of these misanthropes.

"Kontamination" is one 2005's elite black metal releases, based not only on the unbridled malevolence of it, but also the excellent riffs and relatively dynamic arrangements. Frightening sound-effect tracks like "Soiled" (an appropriate title for what is sure to be the result of high-volume exposure to the album) and "Poisoned Mind Haemoth" mesh well with a selection of tracks that range from death-march misery to genocidal speediness. High-speed assaults come at you like knife-wielding madmen, while the slower plods are the aural equivalent of drowning beneath an impenetrable layer of ice. Deft use of accent, such as the piano that ends the slithering "Famished", make the trip even more harrowing. The 10-minute "Stigma Diabolikum" masterfully combines both ends of the spectrum and injects another lethal dose of creepy soundscapes during the last few minutes, all of which gives the track a dismal, yet epic, aura.

Listeners not used to the treble heavy (an understatement), primitive recording of some of the underground's most hateful black metal nihilists will be taken aback by the ear splitting high-end of this one. Consider the basic distortion-drowned work of 1349's "Liberation" and you will have a good idea of what to expect with "Kontamination". It is not like the bass is inaudible though; it's just distorted and devoid of any real low-end, and it happens to sound vicious as hell. Basically, "Kontamination" wouldn't sound right any other way.

"Kontamination" is a powerful album. This is the soundtrack to sheer terror. It is that simple. Buy a copy, turn the volume knob to 10, and get the fuck out of the way.


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