Record Review -

Fan Death Records

From its inception, American black metal was never about technical showmanship or speed. Delve into the early recordings of such genre-defining acts as Venom and Celtic Frost and they're bound by mid-tempo blast beats, scratchy vocals and doom-laced rock 'n' roll. With its self-titled debut cassette, Atlanta trio Überchriist embraces this classic form. Featuring members of Hollow Stars and Hawks, the group's hissing vocals and driving rhythms lay the foundation for the melodic riff fest that sets the album in motion on "Lord Ov Paiin." "Alchohocavst II" and "Black Svpremacy" grow increasingly complex, while "Retrograde Eclipse" downshifts tempos as it moves toward the epic conclusion. There's a sense of humor in the song titles but there's also respect for the genre, lending Überchriist its air of mysterious. The band's sound is neither fully malevolent nor is it benevolent, and with such real-time growth on display, Überchriist still seems to be learning its way. This gloriously dark entry is solid, but greater offerings from the group are yet to come. (3 out of 5 stars)