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Exceeded all my expectations - 75%

autothrall, October 22nd, 2009

By now, most have probably already heard of Skitliv (i.e. "Shit Life"), the latest Norwegian super group, which is primarily a collaboration of Maniac (ex-Mayhem) and Sweden's Kvarforth (Shining, etc), with some other dudes. Skandinavisk Misantropi is the first full length offering, and it exceeded all my expectations. The style of Skitliv consists of painful, crawling doom metal which is lathered in Maniac's black rasp, with injections of noise and whatever else the band can use to weave their tales of depression and futility.

The purpose of this album is to make the listener uncomfortable, and it succeeds to that extent, with each track another piece of a suicidal puzzle. While the riffing itself is quite mediocre, the slowly crashing drums, over the top vocals and various noise and effects the band creates as a subtext all combine into a dreadful and punishing statement. Tracks like "Skandinavisk Misantropi" and "A Valley Below" are stark and sad, but not for any loss of melody. And the band have not forsaken the black barbarity of their repertoire: "Densetsu" bursts into some blackish and even thrashing rhythms, and the 10+ minute "Towards the Shore of Loss" breaks into a great mid paced black metal rhythm deep in the middle. It's also one of those rare records upon which the lengthier tracks are the most effective.

The album has numerous guest spots, from David Tibet (Current 93) to Gaahl and Attila Csihar. I was worried from the live footage I had seen that this band would wind up a noisy, chaotic mess to succeed only on the strength of its line-up, but Skandinavisk Misantropi is quite the focused effort, an elegy of controlled chaos that is fucked up and ready to die.