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How Young Are the Musicians?! - 87%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, January 1st, 2016
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Blackend

I came across this fantastic EP through a request from a fellow user, and I am glad that I decided to give it a shot. I've listened to young musicians take their shots at extreme metal, and watched them absolutely bite the dust (see Infektion - Disgruntled Hispanics), but there are times when I am truly amazed by the metal youth of the world, and this is a perfect example of that. Even if the five young men that made up Amsvartner's line-up were much older than they were when they wrote and recorded The Trollish Mirror, I'd still be taken aback. Black metal releases full of both awesome riffs and good production quality don't exactly grow on frostbitten trees, and when you get that combination, there is no stopping it.

There is no holding back with the ferocity on The Trollish Mirror, and Marcus Johansson and his band of blackened fiends find all sorts of ways to bring you to a bad place in your mind right out of the gate, with the title track slowly starting, and then all hell breaks loose upon your senses. The blast beats are littered across this EP, as well as enough tremolo to feed a family, but thankfully neither of these musical aspects overpowers the rest of the music, and tempo, mood, and time signature changes are frequent, and constantly keep the listener on their toes. There are hardly any sections in which the band stops and goes into another interlude or chorus. Everything seems to flow without gaps and the songs seem very much natural because of that. The blasting sections even sound like Gorguts-style technical death metal and are fluid, and use a lot of the guitar and bass's fret boards

This technicality and almost unrefined tenacity is very well captured within the masterful production, The guitar tone is particularly high-gain and the bass is perfectly distinguishable when Albin Johansson is playing on its thinner strings. When he isn't, the bass blends in with the guitars, drums, and vocals, but its presence is detectable. The bass drum o the drum set is also rounded out in tone and is dampened nicely to get an effect that supports the bass guitar even further. That rich, bass-heavy low end really lends itself well to The Trollish Mirror, and provides a stand out style for Amsvartner. As nice as raw and airy black metal is, it's always nice to hear others break the mold and create a release with production that compliments its players very well.

Despite all of this pounding, aggressive playing, Amsvartner still manage to fit in buts of somber, acoustic based material, such as in the end of “Underneath the Thousand Years Gate" which sounded like "Across the Open Sea" by Unleashed. The songs seem so un-calculated, yet they are complex, and therefore there is a sense that the songs are ad-libbed to a reasonable degree, but if you ask me, this only proves just how good the Johansson brothers and their friends are as musicians. The fact that a group of very young metalheads managed to create and record this very mature sounding EP is beyond me and you can tell very easily that they have done their "homework" and made sure to apply what they learned to this flowing, turbulent ride. Great production, riffs for days, musicians that are players beyond their years, and an atmosphere of chaos; what more could you want? If you want something more, with all due respect, you're whack. This was great.