There are probably few seasoned black metal fans who don’t know of the name Ondskapt, who have been going for 20 years this year. While only one original member remains in Acerbus he decided to keep the Luciferian act alive when bringing Gefandi Ör Andlät on bass (Dys Inbunden, ex-Mephorash), Daemonum Subeunt on drums (Claymords, Sterbhaus, ex-Netherbird) and J.Megiddo (Marduk, In Aeternum, ex-Shining, ex-Degial) on guitars together to give us the fourth full-length album from the band 10 years after their latest offering, Arisen from the Ashes. Obviously this raises some questions, does the band still hold strong after 10 years from the scene and have all these line-up changes hurt them along the way?
First of let me start with saying I personally think Ondskapt has released one of the best black metal albums ever with Dödens Evangelium back in 2005. That album was a masterpiece, a complete package, and I spin it a lot even today. While the 2010 release Arisen from the Ashes was a solid album I didn’t think it was quite close to the levels Ondskapt reached on the album prior. I didn’t know what to expect from Grimoire Ordo Devus, would Ondskapt continue to lower their quality (granted could still be a good album, as Ondskapt got no bad ones) of get back on track with these line-up changes and a lot of time to work on a new album?
A mix of both it would turn out to be. New life seems to have been given Ondskapt as I feel in love with the evil atmosphere that’s surrounding the album from the very start, the mix is on point too, and this old demon seems to have some fire left. It doesn’t burn as bright as Dödens Evangelium (almost nothing does though) but it’s better than I’d hoped it would be truth be told as I did fear this could become a nail in the coffin, that’s not the case. There are some lows such as “Opposites” and “Possession” which are quite the snooze in my book and I actually skip those songs all together after a few spins with the album. On the other spectrum songs like “Ascension” and “Paragon Belial” stands tall though and finds their way high up the Ondskapt tiers overall.
As stated I didn’t have that high hopes for Grimoire Ordo Devus due to various reasons but this turns out be a very good album even with its flaws. I hope we don’t have to wait ten years for the next album and that they can build on this release to reach the levels I know Ondskapt can reach. Celebrating 20 years of black metal worship is a big deal and while the celebration might not be as grand as I think it could be it’s still a damn good party. For those who loves occult black metal this will surely be a treat for your ears where fans of Ondskapt can make a statement they are back in style, but it’s probably not something you bring up in your album of the year talks.