I have to admit, that I am not a fan of true Black Metal or what critics call symphonic black metal... however, this album is a magnificent piece of work that fans of any extreme music should celebrate. Forget church burning, satanism, neo-nazis and other things inevitably associated with black metal, and listen to the music.
The production, for Black Metal is brilliant. The vocals are as vicious and raw as one should expect, sometimes putting the likes of Attila, Isham or Secthdaemon to shame. The guitars are compellingly cold and cynical while still thrashy and sharp enough in places to appease all sorts from fans of Deicide to Dimmu Borgir. The bass is often hard to make out; but when you can, it provides the same harsh effect as the guitars and when you can't serves as a thickener, making the music richer in texture. The drummer is admittedly not the best the genre has to offer, but if you like blast beats and speed there's not a thing wrong with him and fits well with the rest of the band.
Most of the songs are as raw and hateful as Slayer, but as well crafted and operatic as Cradle of Filth. Songs like the eerie 'House On The Haunted Hill' are quite different, more laid back and trippy , but equally as compelling.
If you scoff at the thought of new black metal, or can only appreciate band's first albums then this may not be for you. But to those of you with an open mind, I urge you to buy this album and you will not be disappointed, this truly is one of the best heavy albums there is.