Having not heard Funeral Mist’s previous two records, I’m unequipped to state how Hekatomb places in the context of their career. It’s only the third album in just over fifteen years from the Swedish band, who have been active since 1993. But as someone who appreciates awesome black metal, I’m more than equipped to state that Hekatomb is an incredible album. Strange, even bizarre at times, furious and invigorating at others, and somehow able to juxtapose fiery anger with cold despair on the same song, it’s simultaneously the most concise and versatile black metal record I have heard in a long time. Beginning with a dense sound collage that immediately confuses and disorients, “In Nomine Domini” soon launches into blurring drum cacophonies, dizzying tremolo guitar, and absolutely deranged vocals, a winning combination that continues throughout the rest of the album. “Cockatrice” closes the record’s first side and has what is probably one of the most infernally cathartic moments, when a frigid synth interlude is shattered by a body-wrackingly intense blast of blackness. Hekatomb has not only persuaded me to listen to the rest of Funeral Mist’s work, but also to make sure I haven’t missed any other amazing metal releases this year, because if I can find even one or two as good as this one I’ll be set.