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Ahhhhh, Satan. The pause that refreshes. This one is a real coup for Sound Riot Records, not to mention a treat for any Black Metal diehards who missed this the first time it was released. Svartsyn (who started out as Chalice waaaayy back in 1991 as the second wave of BM was kicking in.) recorded this album in 1997-98 but never released it, for some reason unknown to me. It was finally put out as a double album with their third full-length "His Majesty" in 2000 by End All Life, but that was limited to 500 copies. So this is the first wide release for this album, and it slays.
Svartsyn play Black Metal the way I think it should be played: hard and raw, with an emphasis on riffs rather than speed. If you think of the first Satyricon album or early Mayhem you won't be far off, though there is also a resemblance to other more riffy BM bands like Ritual or Megiddo. This album just rages, from the opening blast of "Terrordemon" through one headbanger after another. This is one of those bands that just keep packing in the riffs, like Melechesh in a way, as they just keep piling cool parts on top of each other until you are sure the songs will overbalance from the sheer riffery. This was recorded at Sunlight Studios, and another plus here is that while the sound is very raw, it is also heavy as fuck, as they didn't skimp on the bottom end.
So you get eight tracks of total Black Metal slayage, one track "Waves Of Eternal Darkness" that is total keyboard bullshit, and then the entire two-track "Tormentor" EP tacked onto the end. For those who have been wanting to get this, as well as those who have never heard Svartsyn, I have just one thing to say: Get this fucker.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
SVARTSYN refuses to acknowledge the melodic death and black metal that is oh so popular in its home country of Sweden. With the exception of bands like THE BLACK, MARDUK, and DARK FUNERAL; SVARTSYN looks across its frozen border to the land that spawned the modern black metal sound—Norway. Bands like early MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE, and GORGOROTH are looked to for inspiration.
A soup filled with human flesh is a nice description of their production, which has long been known as “necro.” The production is fairly clear in the first part of the album, but gets murkier near the album’s end. This type of production adds a good deal of atmosphere to the occult-themed songs, but sometimes drowns out the vocals. Samples that sound like really old movie clips or antique records fit really well with this type of cryptic climate. The MAYHEM-like title, “Great Mysteries of Death” and “Witches Dance for Satan” are two examples of bloodcurdling sound clips, which set a creepy tone for the blasting, blasphemous chaos that follows. Ornias’ guitar tones are so raw they will leave the listener feeling like a motorcycle crash victim. Many of his rhythms are memorable, note the “The Anti-Christ” (SLAYER) guitar praise on the album’s title track.
The major fault of this release is the lack of variety. Although Ornias’ riffs are catchy and “true,” he repeats his self too much. Like early BURZUM releases, the music’s atmosphere and repetition may be trance inducing, but it can also get boring after awhile. The poor mix and redundancies of this one keep it from earning the 80% rating like the bands praised by this terrorizing two-piece band are sure to receive.
originally published on www.thegauntlet.com