Comprising four-fifths of Thorybos (all of whom are also active in numerous other Sol Records cabals) , Cold Earth was formed with the sole intention of creating nostalgic Black Metal paying homage to the glorious late ‘90s / early ‘00s movement – an elite, aloof and magical period celebrated with passion and integrity on ‘Your Misery, My Triumph’, which fittingly culminates in a wrathful rendition of Judas Iscariot’s ‘Spill The Blood Of The Lamb’ as its seventh and final offering.

The album blazes by in 31 minutes of contemptuous fury and indignation, taking no prisoners and with no fake occult leanings, marketing scams or masked crusaders in sight, darkness and misery in plentiful supply with little or no variation in truth as each track bleeds profusely into the next, ‘Following The Voice Of Misanthropic Desire’ a fist in the face of humankind, ‘Thy Tears Of Blood Grace My Eternal Grief’ a nail hammered irreverently into the coffin.

It seems like almost every band or release emerging these days has a gimmick or an angle. In contrast, there is none here. Or the cynical mind might deduce that the gimmick is that there’s no gimmick… Either way, ‘Your Misery, My Triumph’ represents a glorious, timeless addition to any self-respecting record collection, its sheer might and majesty best represented by the grim grandeur of the forlorn six-minute anthem that is ‘And Then, I Awoke From Deceitful Dreams’, which delivers a truly breath-taking, awe-inspiring start to Side B.

Black Metal has been diluted, contaminated, bastardised and cross-pollinated to within an inch of its wretched life in recent decades but the black flame continues to burn darkly in the deepest recesses of the underground. Sometimes the most essential works emerge from unexpected and obscure sources. This is one of those releases – a record imbued with so much authenticity and spirit that it transcends its tribute status to take on a life all of its own.

Evilometer: 666/666