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Ildjarn > 1992-1995 > Reviews > NausikaDalazBlindaz
Ildjarn - 1992-1995

Good introduction to Ildjarn' early work - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 10th, 2007

This compilation covers a 3-year period in Ildjarn's musical development. All the songs you hear are very short, usually about 2 - 3 minutes, with only one song "Krigere" at the end coming near the 5-minute mark. In structure, the songs are very basic, almost ultra-primitive, with the rhythm section banging away without much variation at a steady clip. An early track on this set, "Kronet", is fairly typical: what you hear at the beginning is more or less what you hear close to the end though at some point in the song the bass drops out temporarily (in other songs, it'll be the drum machine that drops out for a while); and the song also shows Ildjarn's vocals at their most usual: extremely distorted and harsh like an especially embittered being who has so much bile and hostility against humanity that you can hear it searing through him as he sings. Then you get tracks like "Himmelen Svartner" on which Ildjarn's vocals are very whispery though the hatred is still there.

With such a basic template, the music turns out to be varied in the sense that each of the 28 songs has its own distinctive rhythm and style. In its own severe way the music is well-crafted and shows some folk music influence. "Himmelen Svartner' and "Der det Skjulte Lever" are two of a number of songs that have shaking-rattle rhythms though the latter track mentioned also has a strong bass groove that's almost dancey. A bit later in the cd, "Morket Slynger Seg", also featuring shake-and-rattle percussion, has an ominous guitar riff and is followed by "Skogrommet" which has a great driving riff. Then you get a number of songs spread out through the cd which are very ugly and bludgeoning affairs with pile-driving beats and extremely gruff vocals.

Other songs to look out for include "Tazkeheim" (fast, almost cartoony rhythms); "Visions of the South (2nd Returning)" where the rhythms do change throughout the piece while the vibrating guitars stay steady; "Skogssvinet" which has no drum beats; and "The Blade Flares in Red Light", a really ugly and violent-sounding though restrained piece with ogre vocals. After twenty or so songs, you'd think Ildjarn would be running out of ideas for ur-minimalist primitivism and then he comes up with "Svarte Fjell" where the rattling percussion is near-industrail and guitars assume a hovering menacing presence. The whole song is relentless machine-like and you can only wonder what Ildjarn might have been like if he got himself a sampler, synths, a keyboard computer and stacks of recordings of real machines and urban noises and went completely industrial.

The last song "Krigere" is quite unusual in mixing long guitar drones in with the constant rhythms and is the one indication of "progress" in Ildjarn's music. The cd package gives no indication of when each track was recorded so for all I know "Krigere" might actually be older than most other songs here. No matter: with Ildjarn, "progress" doesn't figure at all in the sense of greater sophistication in playing instruments and writing / arranging songs. Ildjarn has already built up a substantial reputation in a career based around unvarying rhythm textures and simple melodies and riffs with just guitars and drum machines.

The music being so raw and intense, and so full of anger and venom, and the style being so severe to the point of being ascetic, this album won't have a wide appeal but it's a good introduction to Ildjarn's work.