I tend to talk about ZØRORMR to whoever will listen. In a very short space of time I developed a monumental addiction to “Kval” and, as a result, I found myself with extremely high expectations for the follow-up, “IHS”.
According to ZØRORMR’s official website, “IHS” stands for “In Hoc Signo (Vinces)” (latin) – whether that means anything to you is another matter. The album boasts an impressive collection of guests – including: Cezar (CHRIST AGONY, MOON), Shadow (BLACK ALTAR), Virian (LILLA VENEDA), Icanraz (DEVILISH IMPRESSIONS, ex-ABUSED MAJESTY) and Quazarre (DEVILISH IMPRESSIONS, ASGAARD) – and, on paper, promises to be a more than worthy successor to “Kval”. ZØRORMR made “Thy Kingdom Come” (featuring Cezar) and “Abandon All Hope” available for streaming as a way to whet our appetites… and, from those tracks alone, it was clear that this album had plenty to offer.
As soon as the opening moments of “In Hoc Signo Vinces” and “Abandon All Hope” flow out of your speakers, you know you’re back in the world of ZØRORMR. If you’re not already familiar with ZØRORMR, this world is a very dark place – where evil lurks in the shadows, demons and spirits inhabit places just out of sight and an undisclosed horror whispers your name causing the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end. The Black Metal on offer here is very similar to that on “Kval”, but this time everything feels more complete. Whilst still managing to retain a somewhat raw (yet extremely atmopheric) sound, ZØRORMR has also created something fuller with added depth.
“IHS” invites the listener on a journey through unearthly soundscapes, generously littered with a selection of menacing and tormented vocals and frighteningly good guitar solos. The whole thing is creepy and addictive – the perfect combination for any album.
This album almost has the same quality as a soundtrack to a film – however, it’s so much more than that. “IHS” doesn’t allow its audience to rely on film on a screen to paint a picture for them, instead it feels as if every note and every chord is there to feed another disturbing image into your brain.
So, we are left with one question. How does “IHS” rate in comparison to “Kval”? “Kval” will always hold a special place in my heart, but “IHS” shows that ZØRORMR is not afraid of progression. “IHS” is an exciting and interesting album that gets under your skin. It’s not a comfortable listening experience and this really works in its favour. Is it better than “Kval”? That’s hard to say – it’s like trying to pick your favourite from two demonically possessed children.
Highlights include: “Abandon All Hope”, “At the Heart of Darkness” (as the name suggests – this one is dark! It also reminds me of something Triptykon would do… and this is high praise coming from me!), “Thy Kingdom Come”, “The Ninth Circle” and “Morning Star Rising”.
Tip: Listen to this in the dark
All in all, this is bloody awesome!
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