Svartahrid - Official Website
Sadness And Wrath
Review by Felix on April 7, 2023.
If you want to defame something in a hurry, you should call it second-rate without further ado. A band that sets no impulses of its own, belongs to the following rather than to the leaders and stands out little from the rest is without doubt second-rate. But not everything that is second-rate has to be worse than the first-rate. For some people, masturbation is making love to the person they love the most. If you want to call that first-class sex, I'd rather stay in the second league. Well, that doesn't have too much to do with Svartahrid, but it needed to be said.
After all, the band fulfils all the criteria you would expect of a second-tier combo. Their form of black metal comes without remarkable signs of individuality, the degree is harshness is neither too high nor too low and the vocal performance delivers black metal state of the art nagging and screaming. In addition, the album title is somewhat misleading. I do not hear any sad harmonies. So everybody who wants to moan about a lack of excitement: you are invited. But I appreciate the songs that underline the wrath of the band, for example the powerful, strict and comparatively merciless “Awake or Vanish”. I also take good note of the dynamics and intensity of the title track. It houses both very vigorous and gloomy sections, whereby the latter could also come from Ancient. Oh yes, and a few droning Celtic Frost guitar tones have also crept in. That should please at least Fenriz as well as me. By the way, the booklet lets us know that Nocturno Culto wrote the lyrics for “Intensjon: Krig” in a “cold November night”. Amazing! This must have been the only Norwegian November night in the last 2000 years that didn't kill people's sleep with Mediterranean warmth. Apart from this surprise, it should be mentioned that Mr. Culto also contributed the vocals to this track.
In general, the guitar work is done in a mature manner. The drummer's work, on the other hand, is partially swallowed up by a poorly defined production. This is also responsible for the somewhat too sweet keyboard sound that appears now and then. It's a pity, with the third full album already, someone should definitely notice that. Anyway, the overall impression of the mix is acceptable and does not significantly hurt the quality of the material. It’s rather problematic that some songs come to the end a little tool late. However, the album is worth listening, inter alia due to songs like “Iron Minded” with its creepy, atmospheric sequences that remind me of early Gehenna. (The stylish artwork does not promise too much in this context.)
A final characteristic of second-rate groups: they come and go with the trend. Svartahrid’s debut was released five or six years too late and the fact that they are still “active” is almost a joke in view of the fact that their last full-length was published in 2010. The world has already seen the best days of Norwegian black metal. They are long ago and will never come back. And I doubt that Svartahrid will return with a new album, even though their musical potential was absolutely okay.
Rating: 7.3 out of 10259