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So, what have we here then? A split with two long time bands within the swedish black metal underground: Arackanum and Svartsyn, released by
Carnal Records which Shamaatae of Arckanum is the part founder of.
First off is the one man band Arckanum from Mora. With a most respectable line of high quality albums to look back upon my expectoins where pretty high. The frist track starts with a folky guitarr riff which soon settles in among the the other instruments creating a great track of mid-paced blackness. This is simple old-school black metal at it's best with well executed a varying riff-structure climbing and decending in an a seamless flow over rumbling double bass. The echo effects used on the voclas on the three first albums are gone and though they were really enjoyable and fitting there I do not miss them here; Shamaatae's raspy voice is perfect for reciting the dark poems of which the lyrics mainly consist of. He still uses the swedish language as it was spoken a thousand years ago but the dark nature romanticism is toned down and the nature ambience is completly gone. It's musically similar to the two previous EPs "Boka Vm Kaos" and "Kosmos Wardhin Dræpas Om Sin" and the five tracks are basically pretty alike (except for spitaelsker) in structure but offers some great riffing and adept musicanship and thus never gets boring.
The only negative i can think of is the Spitaelsker-track which is a poem of sorts spoken over a dark minimalistic soundscape, that one could have been skipped and not missed by anyone.
And then it's Svartsyn's turn; a band I've not been very impressed by in the past, I've found most of their materal to be very repetitive and, quite frankly, boring as hell, and it was because of the Arackanum tracks that i bought this CD. Anyhow, their part of this split starts with an intro which seems to consist of snippets from various horror movies where older men (priests perhaps?) are fervently speaking about the dark one beeing loose and the coming of the apocalypse. It's a good intro and before you know it a sonic storm of aggression and hatred in the form Svartsyn's high-speed black metal crashes into your unsuspecting ears with a bang. And what a storm it is. Yes, it is high-speed black metal similar to that of Marduk and the likes but done infinately better. The first things that strikes me upon hearing the first track "A Night Created by the Shadows" is the production: it reminds me of the sound on Watain's latest masterpiece (both records having been recorded in the Necromorbus studio) where the bass is clearly audible and reverberates with a majestic metallic clang and the drums thunder like timpanies of the apocalypse itself. Every instrument is clearly discernable without the sound loosing any of it's fitting rawness and works in unison to create a soundscape of utter blackness and hate.
Svartsyn seems to have found the variation missing on the previous musical outings (not counting the latest album "Destruction of Man" which I
haven't heard) and I think after hearing this I will have to check out the before mentioned album in the near future.
So, if you have any interest in well played and real black metal or if you are under the misconception that swedish black metal is all about mindnumbing hyper-speed á la Marduk and Dark Funeral, think again while listening to this black gem.