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Black sound with pretty icing and zero hatred. - 80%

skullfission, September 9th, 2004

I've encountered many albums that were not quite what I had expected them to be in my time. About 52 seconds into this album, this turned into one. Celtic-styled female vocals pop up, and if it weren’t for the other aspects of this album, I’d feel as if I had stolen my sister’s CD collection when I was drunk and accidentally popped in one of her Cranberries albums. Luckily, this album has much more to offer than the horribly incongruous female vocals on the first song, “Vampyria.”

First of all, the riffs on this album are absolutely killer at certain places, and no worse than listenable at any other place. The aforementioned “killer” riffs sound like the best of Aeternus (see …and So the Night Became or Beyond the Wandering Moon) but with way more, you guessed it, Celtic influence. At worst, they sound like Satyricon-reject riffs. I mean, back when Satyr had standards and actually did reject riffs. The male vocalist even sounds strangely like Satyr. A nice raspy, guttural growl, but singing in (what I think is) Swedish. The lyrics seem to mostly be about vampirism and other silly stuff, but since it’s in Swedish(?), I can’t really understand it, and therefore I don’t really care. Aurally, there are some really, really awesome vocal parts in this, usually involving our resident Satyr-clone and aforementioned Celtic-styled female vocalist singing together, which sounds surprisingly great.

The drumming is sort of weak, but it fits and carries the rest of the music well, invariably. It’s basic, bob-your-head, so devoid of blast beats that you feel as if you’ve never listened to Angel Corpse, black metal drumming. Thus, we move onto the only real problem with this album, the fact that it sounds like black metal, but isn’t. This is what you get when you combine the crappy aesthetic of bands like Cradle of Filth and (new) Ancient with a great musical sound. There is no hatred here. There is no malice here. In fact, this sounds so painfully happy sometimes that you think you’re listening to a Gothenburg band that was too poor to get Dan Swano to produce their album.

Conclusions: Sounds like Satyr date-raped Dolores Riordan (that wacky broad from the Cranberries), got her pregnant, and used the alimony as blackmail with which to get her to sing on his new album. I still like it though. Great male vocals, a decent female vocal sound which is more than made up for with the vocal techniques that are used, guitar-work that is at worst competent, and drumming that isn’t that great, but probably won’t bother anyone. This isn’t for you if you’re looking for ugly music. If you’ve been listening to old Ildjarn for the past 5 years straight, however, this might be just what you need. I know I needed it. Forest Poetry be damned, Siebenburgen injects musicality into black metal, makes it all pretty and fluffy, and has the same charm that is exuded by those cute little veal-calves in all those PETA videos. It breaks my heart, really. This gets an 80% because it kicks moderate amounts of ass except for that whole being-black-but-not-really thing.