Label: Me Saco Un Ojo
Sometimes when listening to a record, you can practically imagine what the song-writing process must have been like. Does this riff work with that one? What if we slowed it down a bit? And do we really want to include a drum solo? With DungeönHammer, it seems pretty sure that the duo asked themselves one question when writing Infernal Moon: does it sound like Hellhammer? There is practically nothing on this record that hasn’t been done before, by those early warriors of death; and yet, that’s not a slight on Infernal Moon. It’s clear that DungeönHammer are trying to create something that taps in to the spirit of old, as if we were still in the 80’s trading tapes with people in far-flung lands. And that’s exactly what it succeeds at; it might be unoriginal, crude, and primitive, but it’s also a lot of fun.
To be fair to DungeönHammer, there’s a bit more to Infernal Moon than just Hellhammer worship. Sure, proto-black riffs and a stench of aged decay make up the majority of the DNA of the record; but there’s also a bit of metalpunk attitude here too, not far removed from the post-millenium output of Darkthrone. ‘Perpetual Funeral Winds’ is a great example of this, moving on from its ominous, acoustic-led intro in to a mid-tempo metalpunk stomp that is totally unfashionable, and totally great.
Which, as a summary of Infernal Moon, is pretty accurate. It’s hard not to imagine Tom G. Warrior spitting out a few “ughs!” over riffs such as that which drive ‘Stigma Diaboli’ and ‘Empire de la Mort’ along; or that a young Quorthorn would have written a few riffs similar to ‘Oracle of Death’ during the early days of Bathory. There’s absolutely no trends here, no concessions to fashion or the progress of time, just kick-ass metal as it was in the 80’s underground.
That retro-feel is both the biggest strength and weakness of Infernal Moon. It taps in to the spirit and sounds of those early days so convincingly, that it’s hard not to feel Infernal Moon would now be considered a classic had it been released 35 years ago. It doesn’t feel like the album is relying on the memory of past masters to succeed; but the shadow of Hellhammer, Bathory, and Celtic Frost hangs heavy over DungeönHammer. Such is the very nature of music like this, though, and at no point does Infernal Moon sound like anything other than what it is: a celebration of old classics, taking old sounds and maybe not making them new, but making them sound as great as ever. The album is a lot of fun, played with conviction and talent, and what more can reasonably asked for? It won’t change your world, but it will provide a solid 38 minutes of headbanging and raised fists.