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Album Review: COFFIN STORM Arcana Rising


Apollyon (Ole Jørgen Moe) is one of the unsung heroes of Norwegian extreme metal. A multi-instrumentalist who does it all. He’s played bass in the legendary Immortal, guitar and drums in Lamented Souls, bass guitar and vocals in Cadaver, guitar in Gorgoroth (where he appears in the infamous Black Mass Krakow DVD) and vocals, guitar, bass and drums in Aura Noir. Not only that, he once served me a mean pint as a bartender at Oslo’s famed Kniven bar.

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard any recorded music from Apollyon, with his last release being 2018’s Aura Noire by Aura Noir. Not to fret, however, as he’s back with yet another new project, and this time he brought Olav Knutsen aka Bestial Tormentor (Inferno, Lamented Souls) and Fenriz (Darkthrone) along with him!

Both Fenriz and Apollyon grew up together in a place called Kolbotn, Norway in the 80s. Kolbotn is just south of Oslo and it was in close proximity to the wealth of record stores that dotted the area back then. It was also there that Bestial Tormentor and Apollyon started playing together a bit later in the 90s. Originally they started off playing doom together as they both went on to form Lamented Souls. This was a band that also featured Simen Hestnaes aka ICS Vortex, who would later rise to prominence with Dimmu Borgir and Borknagar.

Lamented Souls effectively ended in the early 2000s but nearly two decades later Apollyon and Bestial Tormentor wound up together again to start creating songs in that same vein of doom and classic metal. After compromising a number of tracks, and seeking to make it a 100% Kolbotn project, Fenriz joined the duo as vocalist upon hearing their early tracks. Written over the course of just a short period of time, the new trio would take on the moniker Coffin Storm.

Coffin Storm gives us six sprawling tracks clocking in it 45 minutes. Not quite Darkthrone, and not quite Aura Noir or even Lamented Souls, we get a product that is reminiscent of bands like Candlemass, Pentagram and even a bit of Paradise Lost. I can also hear bits of Cathedral, particularly in the track “Eighty-Five and Seven Miles.”

Of course, with Fenriz on vocals, there are going to be some obvious comparisons to Darkthrone. While Darkthrone and Coffin Storm do certainly share some similar sonics, and undoubtedly, Darkthrone fans will find a lot to love here, this really is a different type of musical project with different influences. Speaking of which, the first single, “Over Frozen Moon,” is going to be endearing to those fans of Aura Noir and those who can appreciate a slower pace of thrash.

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“Open the Gallows” is a dirty sounding, 10+ minute cut that has some ferocity in the guitars and horror in the lyrics. It’s a bit thrashy with a great guitar solo, but it’s mixed more akin to a black metal track. “Clockwork Cult” is a wonderfully depressing mix of doom, early thrash and a nice dose of 90s Norwegian metal. This particular song reminds a bit of some early Kreator but with a significantly different vocal cadence.

With minimal (but not too minimal) production values, and a clear DIY vibe, Coffin Storm is exactly what you think it should be. This record will hold particular interest for those who still pine for those doomy, gloomy late 20th Century decades of underground metal.

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