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Following the release of "The True Legend", a largely underrated album as a result of its horrible sound (back in the 1990's), SVARTSYN went into oblivion until the 21st century. And in 2003, they released a gem called "DESTRUCTION OF MAN". This fact is all the more surprising if you one takes into consideration the fact that Black Metal as a whole has been going down the drain since about 1998,so SVARTSYN have outdone most other bands in this respect. Let this review serve as an homage to their efforts!
Those looking for an "evolved" version of BM - i.e diluted and commercialized, by any Blacker's standards - had best steer clear of this album. "DESTRUCTION OF MAN", from any point of view, raises high the banner of Black Metal in its strict definition. It's absolutely merciless and raw, yet surprisingly manages to avoid any real buzz in the guitar sound. Some might argue that this CD/LP belongs in the 1990's and should never have been released afterwards, but this is not true by any means. This band deserves credit for playing Black Metal in its pure evilness and absence of flexibility. It sticks to the legacy of the albums (I dare not say bands) that once defined the above-mentioned style and still succeed in offering something personal. SVARTSYN have their own riffing and atmosphere and do not imitate anyone else. This is clearly mirrored on "DESTRUCTION OF MAN".
Let me end this by saying that SVARTSYN have spat in the face of commerce and trend, and have remained true to their own ideals. In some people's vocabulary, this fact might not mean much, but to me, and maybe to some of you out there, this album must be enjoyed fully. To the last drop of christian blood.
“I got some of that horrible sounding black metal you like so much coming your way!” my chief-editor told me at the Testament show in the Effenaar (Eindhoven, Holland). “You know, the kind that sounds like shit with a reverb.” Let’s just say that not everyone can appreciate the finer things in BM ‘cause I know for sure that he was talking about Svartsyn’s latest album called ‘Destruction of Man’. The sound indeed reminds me of the old Grieghallen recordings with the typically thick drum sound, buzz saw guitars and howling vocals laced with reverb and delay. Names that come to mind are early Enslaved, Immortal, Mayhem and Satyricon (I know, they didn’t record in Grieghallen but nonetheless the sound of this album lays quite close to ‘Dark Medieval Times’). This kind of music tends to have an almost ambient effect on me. It’s all so nice and gritty and yet fuzzy. The riffs are layered and melody is beautifully exploited going from almost serene to blood curdlingly evil. Closing my eyes I get washed away on this music and all kinds of daydreams take place in my mind. This music is all atmosphere and melancholia, windswept and frost-bitten. Beautiful and terrifying. I don’t know what it is with Scandinavian musicians but I have yet to hear anything remotely as good as this in the same style from anywhere else then there.
(This review was originally written for http://www.lordsofmetal.nl and is republished with kind permission of the webmaster)