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There’s a perfect pitch when it comes to low-fi production. It’s hard to put your finger on—one notch lower or higher, and an underground album loses its atmosphere, its vibe, its panache. You either end up with an imbalanced chore to listen to or a too-grim-to-even-care puddle of fuzz. When you hit that sweet spot, though, the rewards are endless. That’s what Burialkult do on their full-length debut from Blood Harvest, A Call From Beyond The Grave—they nail that perfect production spot, giving their awesome brand of blackened thrash the sound of an underground masterpiece.

This is not to say that Burialkult are all production; on A Call…, this Victoria, BC quartet rage in support of the dying of the light, their throttling steel-toned guitar riffs and unrelenting drums reminiscent of brothers in arms like Tsjuder and Aura Noir, only with a tight, more focused rhythm that doesn’t spill over the edge or excuse sloppiness as being “true.” Vocalist Phlegathon’s throaty growls have a full, satisfying grind behind them rather than cracking or going hoarse. Overall, the band’s sound feels united and believable, genuinely evil in a genre where so many bands come across as imitators to the throne.

What can also be praised in A Call… is its variation when it comes to speed. While tracks like “Necrotormentor” rattle forward at a breakneck pace, tracks like “Filth” and “Eternal Satan” bring slower, plodding rhythms that still manage to sound well-rounded and infectious throughout. The listener is immediately reminded of the works of Tom G. Warrior, whose pitch-caked classics are here given a swift kick in the ass. On “Spell of Black Vomit,” the band could easily sound like they’re simply imitating Warrior’s music, but instead drive home an inarguable tribute to the dark pits from which it was spawned.

If this record has a flaw, it’s that it is at times a little simple in its limits; there is literally no grand experimentation to be found on here. Then again, if you’re looking for a departure from the genre, don’t listen to Burialkult. For those in love with classic black thrash the way it used to be done in Norway, A Call from Beyond The Grave is a perfect new addition to your underground playlist, repping the old-school while blazing new trails, all with that perfect spot-on underground production you so avidly crave.

— Scab Casserole

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