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I’m writing this after a sleepless night. Since I got more restless with each minute I put in the CD, plugged the headphones in the stereo and pushed play and repeat all tracks. For the next five hours the material filled my void and replaced my sleep. Every time Arckanum puts out something you always know it’s something special and something really good. So is this release. There is absolutely no track that is inferior to others and I’m not just talking about Arckanum, this goes for Svartsyn as well.
The production of Arckanum is as always raw, but sharp. There are few one man bands that can master all the instruments that they use as well as Shamaatae does. The drums especially are more developed than the regular blast beats and occasional hitting on the ride or crash cymbals. It’s clear that Shamaatae puts a lot of himself into these recordings and that’s a reason for sounding so good. As for Svartsyn this was my first contact with the works of this band and I was not let down. The first track “A Night Created By The Shadows” starts off with a film sample, not sure which movie, a couple of men talking about the Apocalypse and it sums up pretty much the way Svartsyn sounds: bringers of the Apocalypse. It’s hard to find such good, raw, fast black metal full of energy. I would really like to comment on the bass if I may. Whorth, the live bassist of Watain put down the bass lines and it sounds very different from what you’d expect. His style is very flexible and one accommodates fast with it, but the real killer is the sound of the bass that sounds kind of synthetic. You have to hear it with head phones to fully enjoy the recording. The synthetic bass sound disappears however on the last track of the recording, “Blåkullaförbannelsen” which is the track with the most suggestive lyrics on the Svartsyn recording. The song “Skinning The Lambs” also reminded me of Mayhem’s “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” album, it had those familiar tunes that you can hear on that masterpiece. I don’t know if it was intentional for the two bands to make the last track of their recording different from all the others. Arckanum’s “Spitælsker” song which is the last track features guitars and some sort of wind-effect while Shamaatae growls the lyrics written by a fellow brother from MLO. Very distorted vocals, while on other tracks you could comprehend what Shamaatae sings, on this one it’s almost impossible without the booklet. Maybe Shamaatae felt uncomfortable singing in modern Swedish language instead of his old Swedish that he’s so renowned for so he wanted to cover it up a bit. The same for Svartsyn, the last track is slower than the rest and succeeded in creating in my imagination a monumental image of black fog spreading through the land.
So I find myself jamming along with Shamaatae the track “Hexhammar” on my guitar at 5 o’clock in the morning in the darkness of my room. It is no denying of the incredible atmosphere that this album thrived in creating. There is absolutely nothing I can or want to complain about this release. All tracks are fantastic and converge with each other very well. I’ve never heard a better split release than this one and I’m sure Arckanum and Svartsyn will continue to amaze us with their material for a good while.