Dense Fog’, the second full-length from Armnatt, is a short, sharp shock of direct, undiluted, straight-to-the-point raw Black Metal, inherently mindful and respective of tradition yet conjured and executed with such passion that it nevertheless sounds fresh and relevant, extinguishing all light in just 26 apocalyptic minutes. The seven starlit sermons contained on this record – encircled by an intro and outro and also featuring one of the briefest interludes in musical history – summon the spirit of Black Metal’s ancient past with an infections no-frills, all-spills approach; stripped-back, catchy, rocking, stomping, nocturnal art crafted to blaze eternally beneath the Northern sky.

Freezing riffs, hobbling drums and distant shrieks leave the listener engulfed in darkness, the only comfort in sight the certainty of inevitable demise and the sweet oblivion it promises. As a purifying flame scorches the earth under the watchful gaze of a full moon and twinkling, curious stars, only shadows and solitude remain, the tapestry of utter darkness observed by unknown figures in the almost-obligatory Black Metal woodland setting.

While Black Metal has been twisted and convoluted into a multitude of shapes and incarnations over the decades – and not always with positive results – some bands are content to stick to the basics that made the subgenre so life-affirming to begin with. Armnatt is one of those entities and on ‘Dense Fog’ the darkness- and death-worshipping Portuguese horde have offered forth a sincere celebration of their undeviating devotion to eternal night. There’s nothing new to be heard on this record but that in itself is part of the beauty.

New isn’t always desirable and, in their pursuit of creating authentic, nostalgic and timeless Black Metal, Armnatt have adopted the ‘if it’s not broken, why fix it?’ mentality. Thus, what we have here represents, with style and on every conceivable level, the very essence of true Black Metal past and present.

Evilometer: 666/666