Zero hype, one hundred percent great music…it’s all that we strive to discover in today’s metal scene, and so few albums pack as much punch with as little attention these days as Ordo MCM’s brilliant Goetic Equivalent release. This self-titled album brings back Mayhem’s mystique before the hype. There was plenty to complain about Mayhem’s discography post-De Mysteriis, but Goetic Equivalent hammer it home after the scene’s proverbial demise years into black metal’s inevitable decline.
Goetic Equivalent merge catchy classic second wave black metal with post De Mysteriis-era Mayhem, primarily in Blasphemer’s era. In fact, you’d swear Blasphemer were handling the guitars on this album. The riffs are somewhat similar also to his work with Nader Sadek.
Merging mid-tempo black metal with touches of all-out blasting, drumming that’s breathtaking to behold, and vocals that quietly sink into the skin like a finely-wrought needle into the vein, Goetic Equivalent mixes up the tempos so well, these songs come across as the catchiest black metal in a decade, all while bringing the mystique of nineties progressive black metal a’la Mayhem on albums like Ordo ad Chao and Chimera.
The tracks never overstay their welcome, and the herculean whirling riffs to open track two, “Emptiness,” destroy even mightier than ninety-nine percent of the world’s bands, even Mitochondrion, the band that put the swirling, dark, whirlwind riffs on the metal map.
There are no ambient intros, outros, or interludes to spoil the fun. The riffs are so good, they’re air-guitar friendly, even on the slower sections. Quite happy to find this diamond in the rough; the production is just obscure enough to lend it a hint of necro while giving the instruments a quality that strikes its charm. The song titles are very non-descript, but don’t use well-worn clichés. The punk sections merge with thrash drumming, blasts with mid-tempo moshing. Every song on here makes an impression. And while the tracks span four minutes plus each, the songwriting helps the songs sound catchy all the way through.
The tremolo riffs are so fast during the blast sections it’s easy to forget that a little sloppiness lends the performance a spontaneity that works well for most fans. I can’t say enough about the drumming. It’s Hellhammer all over again!
The rung notes shine on this masterpiece, and when the band uses blastbeats, the tremolo riffs travel at the speed of darkness.
Eight tracks all in all, this is great from beginning to end, from first note to last. Track eight, “Chapel,” slows things down suitably to end the majestic release.
The tempos run the gamut. The drums and hi-hat patterns are excellent. It’s not hard to trace so much history in the band’s influences, the stellar performances only refuting the notion that attitude alone is what makes black metal so sacred.
Black metal album of the year? Easily. Album of the year? Quite so, perhaps. The band is tenacious here, and I will only look forward to more scintillating music that Goetic Equivalent have to offer. Black metal art indeed, but more than that, it’s a fun listen and rewarding in all the ways second wave black metal has left mostly in memoriam.