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90s gems: part 563 - 80%

we hope you die, April 25th, 2019

Kvist’s sole LP ‘For Kunsten Maa vi Evig Vike’ (1996) is one such release. Kvist, I’m told, means ‘twig’ in Norwegian. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what this says about the gravitas of the Norwegian language compared to English.

Although this proved to be their only LP, it is a much loved one nevertheless, and with good reason. This definitely sits on the black metal side of the border, and despite being relatively lo-fi and…shall we say grim, it offers a similar lively energy that many in the Swedish school were distinguished for. Tritones are offset by atonal punk riffs and a heavy dose of layered keyboards to beef up the somewhat weak guitar tone. Drums are enthusiastic but somewhat shaky in places given the rhythmic diversity this music pretends to. Vocals are run-of-the-mill black metal growling, devoid of reverb which is to be honest a refreshing nod to authenticity.

This music has no end of intriguing riffs, granting the listener little time to become accustomed to one before moving on to another. In terms of the all-important atmosphere, I would say this album offers us a glimpse into the Satyricon that could have been following ‘Dark Medieval Times’. It is a more developed, cohesive iteration of the style of this rhythmically diverse yet atmospheric take on black metal, with many novel ideas packed within. Where this album falls down somewhat is that weak guitar tone. No problem for many stripes of black metal for sure, but in the contrast between the epic and the evil (chortle), a meatier, more overbearing sound is required for full impact.

This determinant however is a small one. What the album lacks in the area of aesthetic choices, it more than makes up for in riffcraft, and knowing when to use keyboards to layer up the sound, and when to cut them back so as not to become tiresome. In many ways this is an impressive marriage of punk and metal philosophies. With the more epic black/death metal riffs soaring above the scene, and raw, primal black metal riffs of the 1980s complementing them rather than contrasting them. Yet another mid-90s treasure well worth a spin.

Originally published at Hate Meditations