Hades Almighty: Pyre Era, Black!

Long overdue return of Norse black metal champions

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As one of the very first bands to champion the ‘Viking black metal’ subgenre, Hades Almighty (or Hades, as they were in the 90s) were an essential name in Norwegian black metal, resurrecting the spirit of Bathory in a more modern and heavy context and pushing a raw, heroic, folky take on the genre.

It is also no exaggeration to say that their return is long overdue; it is now a decade and a half since their last release, The Pulse Of Decay, which itself was a departure from classic Hades territory.

Resurrected with the aid of Kampfar’s Ask Ty on vocals and bass, the three songs here are remarkably strong, recalling the spirit of those early releases yet with a larger, less linear approach to their songwriting.

Despite the old-school riffing and traditional clean male background vocals, this feels far more contemporary than, say, Falkenbach, and yet somehow avoids unnecessary modern trappings. A magnificent return.