If you follow black metal, follow Ván, a German label that's quietly building an envelope-pushing discography. Last year, the Ruins of Beverast record (review) turned quite a few heads, the reissue of Nagelfar's Virus West (review) was most welcome, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around Verdunkeln's Einblick in den Qualenfall, which recasts Joy Division as black metal.

Ad Arma

Troublingly, Metal Archives lists 21 metal bands named Genocide. (I highly recommend Samantha Powers' Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.) Unsurprisingly, Germany has the most, with three. This Genocide is neither NSBM nor thrash, but upside-down cross black metal. The liner notes say, "This piece of blasphemous intolerance was recorded and mixed by Baal at Studio Panzerklang within three days beginning with the 1974th anniversary of the bastard's crucifixion." And, as if to dispel NSBM rumors: "We must secure the total extermination of ALL RACES and a future for NONENTITY."

The music is old-school black metal - blastbeats, mournful melodies, tortured rasps, oompah polka beats. It's a bit orthodox for Ván, but the quality is high. The recording is impressive, full of rawness, strength, and rhythm section girth (a fellow named Plague is credited with "Bombthrower Bass"). The songs are concise and catchy, with a few amusingly pasted-in symphonic/choral samples. No formal innovations, just a solid, enjoyable listen.

Apocalyptic Visions is available at Ván, Asphyxiate, and The End.