After 20 years of ritualistic intoxication, Urfaust in no more. The inebriated Dutch duo have unexpectedly called time with seventh full-length ‘Untergang’ and it is fitting that they go out on a high. Over the years, Urfaust carved a unique space for themselves within the extended Black Metal genre, achieving cult status through both their live performances and recorded output.

While some releases (‘Der freiwillige Bettler’ springs immediately to mind…) were undoubtedly more stellar and supreme than others, and Urfaust did at times appear to be treading water, ‘Untergang’ is one of their strongest and most memorable albums and represents an impressive return to form right at the death. The cover image of an inebriated and burnt out demonic figure slumped across a sacrificial table, fucked from years of exertion and indulgence, perhaps tells a tale as to why Urfaust is no more.

With this style of neoclassical, experimental, atmospheric Black Metal, how far can you go before the law of diminishing returns starts to erode the value of each subsequent release? It felt like there was nothing left in the Urfaust well years ago, but this newest and final full-length suggests otherwise. It’s a timely reminder of what was so special about these Isengard-worshipping fiends in the first place. How many bands can claim to truly have their own sound these days?

Listening to ‘Untergang’ evokes the very same invigorating feelings as experiencing Urfaust for the first time 15 to 20 years ago. Everything is in its right place here, the doomy, surreal soundscapes merging with deranged singing and screeching to produce a nightmarish realm of maddening intoxicated insanity. The electronic parts do not sound out of place and this one is more metal than ambient but gets the balance just about right. An appropriately thrilling transcendental denouement.

Evilometer: 555/666