Title: Liber Compendium Diabolicum
Label: Black Devastation Records
Genre: Black Metal
02 I Dodens Favn
04 The Endmost Deviance
05 Pa Gravhojen Sa fjernt
07 Det Forjaettede Land
08 Den Stund Hvor Alt Dode
09 Nar Morket Falder Pa
10 Den Hedenske Genfodsel
11 Ind I den Dybe Tage
12 Vintenattens Skygger
Denmark’s Zahrim has been creating dark and sinister black metal since 1996. On their 2007 release Liber Compendium Diabolicum ( The Genesis of Enki) are found all three of Zahrim’s demo recordings. The band is the creation of Aeljutor, who is the vocalist, guitarist, bassist, drummer, lyricist and composer of the entity. Various members and session musicians along the way join him. The idea of compiling bands early and non-label recordings on one cd is a good one. How many of us have tried to acquire a favorite artist demo’s only to find it unavailable or of a 10th generation sub par recording (intentional of the band or not!)? Three demos contained, 4 songs apiece, lyrics in Danish, with the exception of “The Endmost Deviance” in English, totaling just over an hour of brutal assault.
It starts off with la Zagasthenu, a 2006 recording and the newest release. Ultra fast tremolo guitars merged with sludgy doom rhythms are featured throughout. Vocal style is reminiscent of Behexen. Keyboards are used sparingly to great effect. Giving just enough texture without sounding too symphonic. Frequent time changes keep the pace interesting. Mixing old school black metal with bits of doom and thrash. Influences of Darkthrone, Watain and early Emperor are heard overall. A standout track is “The Endmost Deviance”, for its slow driving rhythm and solid drumming.
Next is 2003’s Ultu Muxxischa. From the beginning it’s an attack of buzzing guitars and ferocious drums. “Ulvegrotten” is one of the best tracks here, Bombastic drums, fierce guitars and banshee like vocals. It’s as punishing and tenacious as it is haunting and dramatic. Through the rest of Ultu muxxischa, that same aggression and suspense does not waiver.
Finally is Mashshagarannu, their first release from 1996. While a primitive production is slightly heard compared to their later releases, the musical ability and complex song arrangements are still heard. Surprisingly this has a heavier use of keyboards, not to the point of annoyance but its presence is definitely heard. Out of Mashshagarannu, “Den Hedenske Genfodsel” shines. A melodic assault of layered guitars and eerie keyboards give it a majestic sound.
Within each of these releases is a dark atmosphere. That’s a word that is sometimes (rightfully or not) deeply associated with black metal. A bands ability to immerse the listener into a hellish, depressive setting is a large component of what makes a black metal band. Zahrim are able to do this, from the first song to the last. The may add a bit of thrash or doom along the way, but it does not deter from the overwhelming darkness they brandish. It only shows that from beginning to end they are diabolically consistent.