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Meti Bhuvah need to be more than Ildjarn wannabes - 65%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 20th, 2009

Count the number of tracks on this album (there are thirteen), see how short they are (most of them about 2 - 3 minutes in length and the album's total playing time is just under 34 minutes) and note there are two Ildjarn covers "Sola Skjultes" and "Minnesjord VI" included near the end and you have an idea of the kind of black metal Meti Bhuvah prefer to play - yes, it's very much Ildjarn-inspired, neo-primitive blats of fire and bile. Songs are little more than inflexible rhythm structures carrying harsh guitar riffs and roaring vocals. Occasionally, as on "Winter II", an unexpected knack for creating bass lines verging on rock boogie emerges. Vocals don't amount to much more than angry roars that usually get swallowed up in the angry roaring music.

There's got to be much more with this kind of music than being an Ildjarn wannabe bludgeoning your way through unvarying sets of looping riffs going up and down the scale like an uncoordinated puppet. Ildjarn's music may have had strong Norwegian folk influences - some of the rhythms of his songs sound folk-like especially when they sounded like skittles knocking each other over in some perverse game - and his singing didn't always blare with rage: he could do the cold repressed anger act to good sinister effect. Blurry noise and a not too-clear production which often deliberately obscured his vocals were part of his arsenal and he later expanded his scope to include experimentation with atmosphere and sound. Meti Bhuvah may have the basic formula of raw and primitive minimalist rhythm-based BM down pat but the limitations of that formula become apparent too quickly even on a short album like this self-titled one. A wider variety of rhythms, ones that preferably are different from what Ildjarn used and which might even incorporate some unusual time signatures, is needed here. The songs on this album are also either really fast or medium-fast so we have no idea of how Meti Bhuvah might go with slower rhythms.

I must admit though that within the limited palette Meti Bhuvah have, the rhythms are strong and can have a surprising dance groove which the band could exploit more. (Bands like Akitsa and early Old Wainds sometimes used to put out songs that you can almost boogie to but which still retain a raw primitive quality and style of production.) Good tracks include the robust "Above All" which opens the album, "Winter III" which seems to have two alternating sets of riffs that provide more variety in the song compared to the rest of the album, and two songs that almost sound quite happy, "Meti Bhuvah" and "Epilogue", though from the screaming in the background they're not intended to be happy.

The musicians are wise to keep this album short as anything longer would become very monotonous and boring to listeners. If Meti Bhuvah intend to hang about for a long time, they need to use their Ildjarn and other influences as a launch-pad to develop their own musical identity and have a distinct sound and style. I assume they don't intend simply to follow Ildjarn and they do want to expand their range of minimalist BM.