I’ve waxed lyrical on here before about the quality of Cumbrian black metal, and about Skiddaw in particular in the past. That’s why I’m happy to say we finally have a new Skiddaw album, their debut full length called ‘For the Triumph of Evil’. This is forty eight minutes of rain drenched, icy cold black metal from lonely mountains in the north of England.
After the gloomy opener ‘Skiddaw Forest’ builds and swells to the crashing frenzy of ‘Christ Vanquished’, you instantly feel the step up in songwriting from their debut EP. ‘Christ Vanquished’ is a clattering ode to the likes of Gorgoroth or Mayhem, but ‘Oathbreaker’ has expansive moments that remind of ‘Nightside’-era Emperor. Relentless blasting meets instrumental expanse that fleshes out the music well, and allows Skiddaw to drift above the one dimensional black hordes. Their black heart beats proudly, but there’s more to them that meaningless plagiarism.
The cry of ravens ushers in the dark melancholy of ‘Skiddaw Towers’, while the scathing hellfire of ‘Venom Wax’ leads into the gloomy ambience of ‘Under Ebon Shades’. This is an eeire respite before the clattering rage of ‘Abyssal Descent’ and the black miasma of ‘Gate of Beleth’. Skiddaw have crafted a polished, black gem that oozes darkness and evil while sounding fantastic. The warm production gives the impression of a rusty razorblade dipped in hot blood, accentuating the sharpness and the savagery on show.
Closing with the relentless beating of ‘Even Titans Fall’, ‘For the Triumph of Evil’ is a new standard in modern UK black metal; thoroughly old school but fresh, crisp and well written. Black metal is easy to do badly, but Skiddaw are carving out a pretty nice niche for those of us who appreciate traditional black metal with enough nuances to make it interesting. Kudos to these guys!