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World Suicide Machine. - 90%

Perplexed_Sjel, July 9th, 2009

Since the debut, which wasn’t picked up on by the majority of black metal fans, Skaldic Curse have had some minor changes to their sound and, hopefully, will have some major changes to their global appeal given the fact that several of the musicians have held positions in highly rated bands that have been taking the British isles by storm over recent times. It would seem that Fen’s bassist, also known as Grungyn, and Fen’s main man, The Watcher, who controls some of the most important aspects of Fen’s music, like the vocals, guitaring and keyboard, are members of this particular band also, which definitely gives this band an edge. The bands second guitarist has also operated his trade in legendary black/death hybrid Akercocke, the Skaldic Curse a level of experience that most relatively new bands lack. This outfit, who have been around for several years now, haven’t received the same levels of attention as, lets say, Fen have, but the bands operate in two very different areas of the black metal spectrum, though they do have some small similarities that can be felt strongly on sparse occasions throughout both of their records, particularly the second, ‘World Suicide Machine’.

I’m glad to see that the band has received a number of positive reviews, including one of my own for the mechanical debut which extracted a level of aggressiveness that is seen in the raw sub-genre. Skaldic Curse, as previously stated, have altered their style a bit, but the consistency is still the same - very high. The band used a weak style of production of the debut, but there is a feeling that the members were either not in the position to use an increased sense of production, or they simply didn’t have the experience within the studio to utilise what they did have at their fingertips. I don’t consider the production to be too much of a hampering, problematic issue when it comes to this band. Heck, I’ve heard much worse when it comes to production and even then, on occasions, I have enjoyed the harsh, minimalistic vision. After all, one has to accept that this band are about portraying a level of aggression that is unheard of in most forms of music and whilst the clean production doesn’t offer the same sort of mysticism, it does allow the areas of instrumentation, like the bass, to really thrive within the environment it lives in. The bassist was one of the main contributors to the debut, processing a sound that made the bass viable to the listener, despite the thin production.

This time round, with the better production, the band has more options with which to work within. This is shown with the more progressive styling shown in songs like the self-titled track which has a fantastic solo and duet performance between the bass and the guitarists, who’re both equally important, despite one of them working almost entirely on the foundation sound, not the progressive structures that don’t try to hide within the thick atmospheres of aggression and hatred. There was a distinctive feeling that both Fen and Skaldic Curse sounded similar on occasions, but this time, the band begin to sound more like Akercocke too, with their inspiring progressive structures that increase a sense of dynamism and individuality, despite having ties to the sound of other bands. At no stage do I think I’m listening to anyone other than Skaldic Curse. They’re all capable musicians with a talent for making even the most aggressive soundscapes sound accessible to the senses of a person who might not like raw emotions all that much to begin with, like myself. This accessibility is crucial in terms of the appeal of the band, which is at an all time high after this intoxicating sophomore effort.

Though Skaldic Curse may not be the bravest act, they don’t lack creativity or innovation, as one might be able to tell by the descriptions of their progressive influenced sound - which tends to rely heavily on the repetitive bass and complex guitar sections that do most of the legwork. The lyrical content isn’t especially important, but there are moments when the largely indecipherable screams become common knowledge as the vocalist bellows in anger a crude swear word and begins to manically laugh during brutally brilliant songs like ‘Worm’, which is so incredibly infectious, drawing on nostalgic memories of the catchy debut, a quality which hasn’t escaped the band once again, especially in terms of the bass and percussion, which both rely on repetition (namely double bass). Songs are ‘Worm’ are crucial in the battle for Skaldic Curse to develop some sort of fan base, which they truly do deserve. Songs like this bring together all the elements that make the band so good, but intensify them and portray them on a larger scale, with heightened emotions and a bigger sense that we’re currently listening to a future classic. Though this record doesn’t excel on from the debut, and although it might have its differences, it is just as good and solid as the impacting debut. Another terrific effort with many more brooding darker elements.