IF you thought the darkest, bleakest thing in South Africa was its economic outlook, think again. Johannesburg-based duo Onheilig (who recently signed to Avgrundsklanger Records) are burning the orthodox black metal flame in the deep south of the globe, keeping the global spirit of occultism and Satanism alive and well.
The three-track demo EP, His Will, My Craft – which can be found on the band’s bandcamp (https://onheilig.bandcamp.com/releases) presents an unholy (the literal translation of the band’s name, aptly enough) trinity of styles: the introduction is chilly, ambient stuff, bordering on dungeon synth, followed by the title track. This is a frenetic, lo-fi mélange of styles and influences itself – all together a delightful selection of black metal tropes, but the arrangement itself makes for a schizophrenic and constant shifting. Thankfully, the final track – Verloor – rectifies the cut-and-paste approach of His Will, My Craft and is a stellar example of the Infernus school of guitar composition. So much so that at times you could easily be forgiven for thinking it was an early Gorgoroth demo you were listening to, even if the harsh-sounding Afrikaans lyrics could never be confused for Norwegian.
For a first recording, Onheilig are setting a high bar for themselves: twin vocal lines, dynamic arrangements and a gloriously raw guitar tone set the stage for what will hopefully become an interesting artist to watch. His Will, My Craft is just enough of a teaser of things to come – and based on this demo, it’s going to a filthy, necro celebration. About the only thing that’s missing here that I can hope for is live drums – but on a demo, I’m more than willing to forgive pre-programmed percussion.
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