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Kvist - For Kunsten Maa Vi Evig Vike - 90%

ravenhearted, December 23rd, 2009

In their short existence back in the mid-nineties, Norway's KVIST were the perfect embodiment of a true cult-group. Often overlooked when talking about the Norwegian second wave, they released one album before disappearing into obscurity, with members later surfacing in equally underground bands like URGEHAL and XPLODING PLASTIX. Never the less, Peaceville has finally taken it upon themselves to re-release this unappreciated classic for a new generation of headbangers.

For their distinct melodic sound, KVIST fused the dark folk musings of early SATYRICON with the sweeping keyboards of EMPEROR, resulting in memorable melodies that still shy the light of the commerce. It must be said that bassist and vocalist Tom Hagen steals the show, with the menacing vibrations providing the backbone to the grandiose melodies. Of course that's not to say that the other members aren't up to par, the riffs are great and the drums are furious without overshadowing the melody. The lyrics are snarled with restraint, which makes the lyrics oddly comprehensible for those who speak the language. Although keyboards play an important role, they are kept in the background and only serve to strengthen the music, without ever coming off as forced or cheesy. The songs tend to flirt with upbeat melodies, but at its core "For Kunsten..." is as black as a wart on Abbath's foot.

With all its quirks and unique atmosphere, "For Kunsten Maa Vi Evig Vike" is an essential piece of art for anyone with even a slight interest in Norwegian Black Metal. This re-release, which is virtually unchanged from the original, proves that some albums absolutely stand the test of time. In a perfect world, KVIST would be mentioned in the same breath as early DARKTHRONE and SATYRICON, and as pioneers of Symphonic Black Metal.

(Online December 23, 2009)

Ailo Ravna

Written for the Metal Observer