Antinomian reviewed by Blabbermouth
Fortunately for you, I'm only writing MHORGL instead of trying to pronounce it. Then again, it's Australian extreme (in this case black) metal and the down-under tradition in that regard has rarely involved strict adherence to conventional form or function. Such is the case from a musical point of view as well. While "Antinomian" is not an experimental black metal tour de force, MHORGL has at least poked, prodded, and clawed at the boundaries. In other words, at its most fundamental "Antinomian" is a vicious and blast beaten black metal album. In the course of that realization however you will find that not all the flavors taste familiar. The MHORGL policy here is one of scorched earth, as you'll note right off the bat with openers "Nocturnal Blasphemy" and "Kiss of Midnight". Before long though you'll notice that the angles are more than slightly askew. If it doesn't become apparent during those first two tracks, then it surely will when an appealing, yet still left of center, melodic midsection hits on "Iron Clad Destruction". From there even the ripping tremolo-picked aggression that follows sounds different than the norm.

Much of the band's creation involves the manner in which dissonance is woven into those tremolo bursts, as well as the angular turns taken from time to time. It is not so much that those forays into the sonically grotesque are anything new to black metal, but "Antinomian" more often than not sounds just different enough to be unique, yet still rooted in the identifiably Australian — or even French for that matter — strains of blackness. In the case of the first half of the album, those characteristics don't push the songs toward anything that might be considered awe inspiring, but the slants and bends are noteworthy, especially with repeat spins.

The disc's second half offers a tad more in the way of expansiveness. "Subterranean Assault Beast" in particular features attention-grabbing moments of a more pronounced angularity and even a mild jazziness in the construction of those parts. The jagged atonality figures prominently during "The Paean of Hangatyr" and the slower, doomy sections serve the song well. But it is the racing, black metal interpretation of OZZY OSBOURNE's "Mr. Crowley" that is so pleasantly surprising for how well it's done (including the BM treatment of the Randy Rhoads solo) and how comfortably it fits with the rest of the material.

On the whole, "Antinomian" succeeds more as an off-the-beaten-path black metal experience than as a trailblazing one. It is not however anything close to a run-of-the-mill BM album. I've a feeling that it will sound even better as time passes; it's happening already.

Scott Alisoglu
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