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The beginnings of depressive black metal, which may surprise many, did not begin in the bedrooms of teenagers across the globe. It did not begin on the popular website MySpace, nor is it a creation of Burzum’s. In my opinion, whilst Burzum had a major affect upon the sub-genre in years to come, bands like Forgotten Woods and Strid were the co-creators of this sound which is extremely popular today. There are those who hate this sub-genre with a passion and there are those that love it. I love it, personally. Of course, there are going to be bands within the genre that I don’t like, but isn’t that the same for every aspect of metal, if not music in general?
Whilst the majority of people seem to harp on about bands like Strid because, apparently, they embody an experience like no other due to their amazing sounds. I personally don’t see what all the fuss is about. Whilst bands like Strid should be appreciated because they had a major influence on a number of bands I like today, I don’t necessarily accept the apparent fact that they are the best thing since sliced bread. Fans today complain that the sub-genre of depressive black metal isn’t as accessible or as strong due to the high influx of so-called ‘bedroom bands’. The main complaint seems to be that bands of today have taken the sound of bands like Strid, especially in terms of guitar structures and atmospherically driven ambience, and changed minor aspects of their music in order for it to be seen as their own individualistic effort. I think it is nonsensical to suggest such a fact as black metal is a repetitive genre by nature. You’re bound to find music that is similar to that of the olden days because the vast majority of black metal bands use a limited amount of techniques in order to portray their lyrical and musical themes.
In actual fact, whilst I can understand the appeal, Strid seem mediocre by comparison to the more modern day bands like Nyktalgia and Wigrid, both of which are often called Burzum clones. Another aspect of today’s fans I find mildly amusing is that they claim that the majority of bands who play within the sub-genre of depressive black metal are indeed clones of Burzum. I, personally, think Burzum are overrated. You may be asking yourself why I’m making this comparison but isn’t it all relative? The early and mid-1990’s has such a huge reputation for producing the golden era of black metal bands but, in my opinion, when you compare it to the modern scene, it’s no longer as proud as it once was. As I previously stated, there are a number of fans that consider the modern day scene to be a replica of the old days. This is something I disagree with. Whilst I can understand the fact that there may be some similarities, I wouldn’t completely write off the more modern day acts because they appear similar on the surface. There is something inside me that feels as if the music present on this demo wears slightly thin, especially considering both songs are fairly long in length. The repetitive sound needs more than just that to withstand a longer set to play on and whilst Strid do offer some tasty soundscapes, it's not the best I've heard, simply put. There isn’t much point in making comparisons to other Strid releases because there aren’t many to choose from. In actual fact, there is only one other demo to choose from which makes me wonder how on earth the reputation for this band is so big due to a very short career. Thing is, I can imagine it is simply because during the early 90’s, black metal wasn’t as accessible as is nowadays. Bands who played within the scene were few and far between, so fans couldn’t pick and choose who were legends in their own right as much as they can now. Black metal has expanded further into the realms of avant-gardé and the more that happens, the more acts like Strid get left behind.
That is the problem here. In comparison, Strid’s music hasn’t exactly stood the test of time. The guitars sound just as thin as the production and gradually, though we’re only offered a single song, it does grate on the nerves. Whilst, yes the demos are accessible to fans of this type of music because the repetitious nature of the music is seen as enjoyable by a lot of people, the music never really excels itself or anything released in the past decade. Allow me to use Nyktalgia’s self-titled debut as an example. Whilst there may be repetition used on the record, it is fairly innovative for it’s genre. On this demo, which happens to be self-titled, repetition is the main course of the day. Strid do set the standard for use of creative bass lines though for black metal bands. The bass often takes lead of the band, creating some fine droning ambience that ebbs and flows constantly throughout the two songs. However, it all seems a little outdated. Whilst there is a fair amount of emotive atmospheres used on this demo, they don’t carry the music over as well as I had hoped. The vocals are especially important in doing this, but they aren’t up to the standard that modern day bands apply to their work.
The vocals are typically rasping and do depict the negativity of black metal and life well, but don’t stand out as much as they could have either. At times they seem to hold back, perhaps in order to allow the true essence of Strid to shine through instrumentally, but it never quite does. In comparison to the other demo, this is very similar. The sound, the pace, the entire contents of this demo are very similar to the other and it’s disappointing. There seems to be a lack of direction. The guitars are quite disappointing, as are the drums. Both are repetitive, playing in a similar droning fashion to the bass, but with less impact. The production suits the demo, that’s for sure. A thin production for thin sounding instruments seems apt. It is bleak, cold and melancholic but the atmospheric nature of the demo isn‘t diverse enough to withstand time. It‘s ageing façade is growing weary and by the mid-point of the song, so am I. I can appreciate this demo, I just don’t think it is as good as people suggest it is. It is also far too short to make any sort of judgements on how amazing Strid would have become if they had stuck at it. Overrated, in my opinion.
Norway proves once again that they are the masters of creating melancholic black metal. This EP is mind blowing as far atmosphere goes – and black metal doesn’t get any better than this…
As short as this EP might seem, I guarantee you that when you’re done listening to these two long tracks that “Strid” consists of, you will behold an incredible and timeless EP. The music itself is very timeless, consisting of perfect atmospheric black metal production like I never heard before. Maybe I could compare this short EP to Darkthrone to just give you an idea, but Strid seems to have even more atmosphere than Darkthrone itself. And I tell you what: as corny as this may sound, Strid is one of the “few” black metal projects that actually makes ME feel like I’m in a cold vast forest.
For the first time, I will admit that the feel for the music found on this EP is very supernatural. This is music that touches your soul; very spiritual, touching, melancholic, and at the same time, powerful; a fusion that really defines the greatness of black metal.
What a shame that a band as incredible as this had to split-up. Even though the band didn’t make it very far… this EP is so goddamn timeless that I really urge you to check it out if you love black metal at its purest form. Strid is a name that I will remember for the rest of my life.
This is one good EP. There are many reasons making these 2 songs very valuable. The first of the reasons is that this album is a milestone, a beginning for the suicidal black metal subgenre. This was released many years before those Shining, Abyssic Hate, Xasthur etc. albums. And I noticed that Shining has 2 songs which are exactly like "Nattevandring", a very inspiring song which is one of the 2 songs.
Distorted "trance-mood" guitars and a bass guitar leading the song with simple but effective notes. And the sound of drums which makes the trance-like state of this EP stronger. The drums are not minimalistic or simple, there are strong attacks and different patterns and all are enjoyable and makes the atmosphere of the EP more effective. And the vocals... They explain it all. Hate and pain slipping from every part of Storm's vocals.
Both songs take you away from the real world and show you all the pain in this world. This release is very important in my opinion, very important for me at least. The rarity makes this release even more valuable. If you want to see what Shining (In an interview Kvarforth said he listens to 2-3 black metal bands and Strid was one of them.) and other suicidal black metal bands were inspired from, listen to this release.
I was highly skeptical upon receiving this EP from a friend, as I’ve become accustomed to the majority of suicidal black-metal bands being an absolute load of dissonant wankery. While I won’t deny I’ve enjoyed a bit of dissonant wankery in my time, I certainly don’t need yet another “kvlt” demo from some teenagers in Scandinavia full of it. So imagine my surprise when I had a listen to the first track from this EP. The thing that struck me first was the production, which was far above average. While the guitar tone and drum sound were something in the vein of Filosofem era Burzum, the quality of production and the way the over distorted and fuzzed riffs came across reminded me mostly of Abyssic Hate. What separates this band from Abyssic Hate is the crafty use of Bass guitar. In fact I’d claim the bass is actually the lead instrument on the first song, as it seems to play the actual slow paced riff, while the guitars drone fuzzily in the back ground. The song writing here stands out, it’s hard to place, but one really does get the feeling a lot of arrangement was put into these songs, and not the hastily construction crap we’ve come to expect from Scott Connor. The vocals are nothing special, but get the job done, in fact they are buried beneath the thick sheet of distorted guitar, and the almost melodic bass lines which dominate this EP.
However, all of this seems kind of familiar doesn't it? Let's see, base high in the mix, slow paced suicidal black-metal, tortured vocals. Yes, it sounds just like Shining …But a look at the release date will show you that this was released years before the first shining album, which should the give you insight into what an original album it was for its time, pre-dating the entire suicide-black-metal trend. Which probably explains why the band was unheard of during it's lifespan, as had this band existed at the high of Xasthur worship they would have no doubt become far more popular than they are now. Overall, anyone reading this review will know largely what to expect if they’ve ever heard anything in the suicidal black-metal sub-genre, only this is done with far more forethought and skill, a milestone in the beginning of the genre, and a shame it never became a full album.
Strid is a band which not very much is known about. Buried among the hundreds of black metal bands coming out of Scandinavia in the early 90’s was Strid’s brilliant sound of absolute despair and darkness. The ep was released in 1995.
On this 2-song ep we are presented with a totally different take on black metal. Gone are the furious blasts beats and guitar riffs a la Mayhem, Strid prefers a slower, much more macabre sounding combination of melodies and drum patterns. The opening track is called “Det Hviskes Blant Sorte Vinder”. Sounds of a horse galloping through a storm can be heard, the wind howling furiously really creates an eerie atmosphere.
The little intro leads to a fuzzy combination of a sorrowful bass-line, guitars droning in the distance and a slow drumbeat make up the background for the voice of misery itself. A high pitched scream that echoes and makes the music sound even gloomier. The song also has a certain “folk” feeling to it, Flutes can be heard in the distance at times.
The second track is “Nattevandring”. It starts similar to the other song, a slow drumbeat and guitars, the song clocks in at 7:57, and midway through the song changes into an ambient like track, with a constant fuzzy guitar sound in the back, the evil vocals occasionally interrupting the trance like rhythms. The song ends with the sound of a gate closing, like a drawbridge of a castle.
Even though this only has 2 songs it is really worth getting, this sounds much more original and interesting than 99% of the black metal bands out today. It is also extremely hard to find.