Swedish black metal duo Reaper released their demo EP in 2019 – the lovingly titled Ravenous Storm Of Piss – and Duca The Impaler (drums, bass, vocals) and Ityphallic Flagellator (guitars, vocals) returned in late 2019 with debut full length album, Unholy Nordic Noise…..and while it may have taken us a while to catch up on this release, we’re sure as hell glad we eventually did!
Opening with an atmospheric intro (with some spoken word stuff which we really should recognise but can’t for the life of us pinpoint), this leads nicely into opening track, “Hero Of The Graveyard Flies”; a deceivingly catchy little number that kicks off at quite a pace. Foot tappingly good. “Severing Tentacles Of Faith” then carries the torch and while it’s pretty clear that Reaper have a formula they’re sticking to (old-school blackened speed metal in case you were unclear), it’s all clever, catchy and each song raises a smile.
Is black metal supposed to make you feel good? Something to ponder.
“Horn Of Hades” is by far the longest and the best song on the album – simply put, it crushes – while “The Birth Of War” opens with a very Motörhead-esque riffy section (surely our ears deceive us) and it’s only when the screechy-growly vocals kick in that you remember you’re listening to a black metal album! Musically, there’s also an early Slayer influence here. Vocally not, but musically yes. We’re thinking Show No Mercy era Slayer. This is a good thing.
Take out “Intro” and “Outro” and you’re left with a decidedly fun and frantic 26 minutes of blackened speed metal mayhem. Despite being ostensibly black metal, there’s a thrash/death metal vibe running throughout the album, which will make it easier for non BM aficionados to get into. Think of Reaper as early Bathory with a bit of Slayer, Death and even Motörhead throw in and you’re pretty much there. 8/10 (every day of the week).