The duo Masteriis comes from Oslo, Norway, and plays tradition-aware black metal. This is their first official release.

"Dødsdom" (which translates to "Death Sentence") offers 18 minutes of fast, cold and traditional Norwegian black metal with good production values - yet, oddly, played with dull-sounding programmed drums. I would guess that bands such as Gorgoroth and Immortal have been a major influence for the two fellows. Whereas the two mentioned groups have managed to create their own unique styles, Masteriis spends their time bowing towards the great names before them.

The first two songs go pass without leaving much of a memory trail; the guitars are too clean to make the tremolo-riffs sound interesting, and even if they did, the plastic and predictable programmed drums flatten the songs of actual hate and emotion. However, the third song "Forlatt" creates a surprise as its slower and more rhythmic opening riff actually sounds good and memorable, and the melodic lead after it sounds appealing. The higher lead guitars work really well in this song, and the clean melodies in the C-section make the song sound like a fruit of effort. Very traditional, true, but still good. The following "Into Infinite Darkness" is decent as well; a dark mid-tempo tune with a heavier sound, and more focus on the harsh vocals, bass riffs, and the overall atmosphere. Too bad that it has a dull abrupt end.

The main thing wrong about this release is that it lacks effort. The raw gnarls are decent, the cover arts are decent, and the riffs are decent; yet, there's very little actual personality and enthusiasm to be heard, and the end result sounds dull. The programmed drums and polished soundscape don't help either, as they make the compositional flaws painfully visible.

The last two songs are the best and also the shortest ones, so I would recommend the duo to get a better and sturdier grip of the basics before trying to reach any higher. They seem to have a vision of what they're trying to accomplish, but they really need to set their standards higher. As of now, they sound like a demo-stage band that went to the studio too soon.

4½ / 10