Can it really be more than 20 years since One of Norway’s most creative black metal bands released ‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’? At the time they had gone through some artistic and personnel changes which would shape their future, with the arrival of bassist/singer ICS Vortex, drummer Nicholas Barker of Cradle of Filth and new guitarist Galder fitting in with Shagrath, Mustis and Silenoz. To celebrate the 20th+ anniversary, towards the end of 2022 Nuclear Blast released a limited edition 3 LP set containing remixed and remastered versions of the original 13 songs (as it is includes the bonus songs from the Japanese edition), with another LP (called ‘Dust Of Cold Memories’) which includes extensive bonus material, which includes the pre-production of the album and instrumental rehearsals.
Although I personally do not view this as important as the next album, ‘Death Cult Armageddon’, the addition of ICS Vortex to the band was a major step forward, along with the strong use of real orchestration as opposed to producing it on keyboards. There are some who feel this period of the band does not compare to their early days, bit for me this was when they were at their most interesting, challenging the norms on what was expected from Norwegian Black Metal, and forcing it into the mainstream without ever losing any of the power and atmosphere. Like many, I got this at the time so the question must be is it worth buying it again? Well, it has been remixed and remastered and the sound has been made punchier, plus it is available on vinyl, which is always nice. The third LP is very much for fans only but given they will be the ones getting this I guess that is okay.