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Stormblåst - 96%

Lars_Stian, July 7th, 2017

I can't come up with an introduction, so straight to the review:

The first thing you'll notice is probably the production. Quite a few people find the production unbearable, and while I can understand how some may dislike the production, and though I agree it's quite bad, it doesn't really bother me too much. The guitars sound like rubber, and the drums sound a bit flat, and the bass drum sounds very weak. Nonetheless, it only bothered me the first few listens, and I got used to it quite fast.

On to the music itself. The synth is more predominant than on their previous album. If you removed all keyboards on this album, it would be very different, whereas on ''For All Tid'' it probably wouldn't make an enormous difference. I do like the synth for the most parts. There are instances where I think the synth should take a rest, however overall it's quite nice. The keyboards often deliver more melodic and softer melodies on top of the more heavy and faster riffs, which creates a very nice contrast. Furthermore, while ''For All Tid'' was more atmospheric and had a strong medieval and LoTR vibe, this album is less atmospheric, however there's still much emotion and melody in the songs.

As I stated, the guitar riffs are often heavy and fast paced. They usually consist of tremolo picked powerchords primarily, usually accompanied by blast beats. The guitar playing in itself doesn't really distinguish themselves too much from the typical riffing of black metal. The guitar tone itself is fair, it's heavily distorted, and though it sounds a bit rubbery, it's fairly nice. As for the drums, their sound isn't too good; the cymbals are a bit too dry, the bass to be too weak, and the snare to be a bit flat. Overall they just sound a bit lifeless. The playing, however, is impressive, and while there's a lot of blast beats, there are quite good fills, and there's a fair amount of variety, and the speed of the bass and cymbals are, at times, incredible.

The vocals are good. They're more gurgly and lower in pitch, and sound a bit like late-Gorgoroth Pest, however, (and I know I write this in virtually every review) they're not exceptional or really that noteworthy. The quality of the lyrics is a bit inconsistent. At times, the lyrics are very good; well written poetic descriptions of nature and mystical and mythical concepts, that captivates the atmosphere and emotion of the melodies. Some of the lyrics, however, is just Satanism and anti-Christianity, and while such lyrics isn't necessarily bound to be bad, they just feel so lifeless and dull and hastily written. Nonetheless, I'd say the lyrics are good overall, and I can see how writing poetic lyrics for each track can be a burden when you could just as easily write ''hail Satan'' a thousand times and the reaction wouldn't really be any different.

In conclusion, I think that ''Stormblåst'' is better than most black metal fans would have you believe, and give it a try with an open mind. Note that I'm not saying that if you dislike it, you are inherently wrong and a hater or whatever, but at the same time, I get somewhat of an impression that some listen to it wanting to hate it, not giving it a fair chance.