A couple of elements immediately separate Anguished from the hordes of other early Darkthrone clones floating around out there, the obvious source material of Anguished’s template for raw black metal. Only a woman, of course, could pull off the tortured, sexual imagery present in the album layout, coupled with a palpable sense of desperation and, well, anguish that very easily comes across in the themes and music of Anguished. This is quite refreshing in recent raw black metal, as most artists these days seem to be just going through the motions with regards to the genre’s motifs, regardless of the quality of the music.
Second, the music is quite powerful, able to combine the fuzziness of raw black metal with a sense of power in a surprisingly deep production. Adding further to the power and atmosphere are the tortured shrieks of Possessed Demoness, who truly does sound like the persona she has taken on in Anguished. The vocals are extremely shrill and take some getting used to, even for those accustomed to grating vocals, but, once the adjustment has been made, the vocals fit the music and themes perfectly as a sense of genuine sorrow and an angry desperation comes forth.
Increasing the vocals’ effectiveness is a tendency for Possessed Demoness to periodically downshift into a wail that begins to reveal her actual voice, and startling touches of melody are used quite effectively, as well, particularly in “The Last Trip” and the title track to close out the album.
I must admit to being quite surprised at the quality of Cold, and the album won me over almost immediately. Whatever tortured muse Possessed Demoness is drawing from, she has channeled quite well into an effective slab of raw, intensely personal sounding, black metal.
(released November 9, 2010 on Hammer Of Hate Records)