If ever there was a band to divide the black metal scene, it was Von. The brute force primitivism of the Californians’ Satanic Blood demo made even Hellhammer seem complex and was an anachronism in 1992’s world of technical thrash and death metal. However, the ready-to-explode second wave of black metal bands embraced them – Watain are named after a Von song.
2010’s reunion show was, by all accounts, a disaster yet, undeterred, Von are back with their first album proper – last year’s Satanic Blood being a rehash of the original demo. Rather than retreading their original simplistic punky style, Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves is a far murkier affair. _ _
They Have Come sets the pace, and it’s mostly a brooding crawl. Think Celtic Frost’s Monotheist, while Dead Congregation and Grave Miasma summon their occult death metal demons. Although that’s not to say that Von can’t still thrash out – Devil Whore provides a fix of full-throttle 80s death. A far better album than you might have expected.