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Den Saakaldte - Øl, Mørke og Depresjon - 83%

Avestriel, March 22nd, 2009

This band called my attention because of the amount of renowned musicians that have contributed to it in one way or another and because there's a great song by Ved Buens Ende.... called Den Saakaldte (Den Såkaldte actually). Yeah I know, that last one's a silly reason but I thought that maybe they had some influence by them in their music. I would not find that but I would find an interesting and fresh band's debut.

While not groundbreaking in any way, it stands as a fresh new piece of modern black metal which is worthy of at least one listen by those who feel the phrase "original black metal" has become an oxymoron. The album opens with a weird instrumental which seems to belong to any given scene on a movie/book by Stephen King, what with the eerie sounds and the playful, almost circus-esque piano. The guitars then join the party and are as noisy as you'd expect them to be but the sound quality is considerably clear.

The first odd thing that strikes the listener are the jazzy trumpets and sax in between doomy introductory riffs that soon turn into faster but still heavy black riffs crowned by the vocals, which sound quite average albeit much lower in tone than your run-of-the-mill black metal shriek. The drums are mixed quite low in the mix but complement the music nicely, with a sober amount of both blastbeats and inventive drumming. Bass, sadly, seems to be a very scant resource in black metal these days, since I can barely hear it. The vocals eventually start to get more interesting, and the melodies get more complex too (but not too much).

The whole album seems to go for a doom-black approach musically, which suits the lyrics and album title perfectly, reeking of alcohol and sadness like a lonely Saturday night when a bottle of beer and a guitar are your only companions. There's this constant aura of despair mixed with insanity which makes for an interesting listen. Especially during the numerous moments in which the piano takes the spotlight and plays something spooky. This doesn't mean this is a quiet, slow and doomy album, there's plenty of black metal action which tends to be epic and sorrowful most of the time, with ever increasingly improved vocals and musicianship.

There's not much more I can say about this album, other than it's above average but doesn't reach the level of instant classic or ground breaking. It's innovative for sure but at the same time it seems something is missing. Perhaps this is just the experimental seed that will grow into great works of art in the future. I surely hope this is the case, since the scene desperately needs innovation and originality.