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Bᴀʀʙᴀʀɪᴄ ʙᴇsᴛɪᴀʟ ᴘᴇʀғᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ. - 100%

NiBaVaS, September 12th, 2017

Svartsyn is a relatively unknown and underrated black metal outfit, that I just recently discovered. ‛‛. . . Hɪs Mᴀᴊᴇsᴛʏ’’ remains to be their best piece of work to date. When I heard it long ago, I didn't think much of it first… but hearing it again now I can't stop listening to it. It has the unique line‑up of Ornias on vocals & guitars, Kolgrim on bass and Draugen on drums. The synergy of this trio creates a uniqueness unheard of in the genre of black metal: three warriors of darkness doing battle at the gates of black eternity and beyond, delivering an unforgettable fight in a nihilistic world!

Other reviewers have already mentioned the distinctive "blown out speaker sound" of this album. That should come as no surprise, considering Ornias's reverence for Burzum's shrill sounding self‑titled debut. But these harsh production values conceal a very well‑structured body of songwriting, creating a chilling, otherworldly atmosphere at the same time. The album sounds thoroughly abyssal, full of haunting vibrations, shadowy whispers and echoes.

At the center of this bleak soundscape we hear the drums, thundering away in the distance with persisting emphasis. It stands out how very skillful Draugen handles his percussion duties, pounding confidently, battering all in his path. Add to this the unrelenting riffing, that sporadically changes gear and moves into epic overdrive, and it doesn't take you long to realize what a massive beast of an album you hold in your hands. To top it all off we find the abrasive vocals of Ornias, which are uttered with passionate bestiality, as if breathless.

The cover art is an extremely dark engraving by Gustave Doré, a French symbolist with a penchant for the obscure that makes him popular with a number of other black metal acts such as Dimmu Borgir, Emperor and Judas Iscariot – to name but a few. It's as pitch‑black and uncompromisingly unlit as the covers of those two other legendary milestones in the realm of black metal, with which ‛‛. . . Hɪs Mᴀᴊᴇsᴛʏ’’ seems to share some resemblances: ‛‛Pᴜʀᴇ Hᴏʟᴏᴄᴀᴜsᴛ’’ by Immortal and ‛‛Hᴇʟʟ Eᴛᴇʀɴᴀʟ’’ by Setherial.

To be more specific: with ‛‛Pᴜʀᴇ Hᴏʟᴏᴄᴀᴜsᴛ’’ it shares the galloping rhythm of the drums and the chugging bass lines; and with ‛‛Hᴇʟʟ Eᴛᴇʀɴᴀʟ’’ the searing maelstrom of guitar riffs. Also, ‛‛. . . Hɪs Mᴀᴊᴇsᴛʏ’’ has a similar running time as Immortal's sophomore studio album, edging shortly over the half hour mark. This compactness – far from being a weakness – seems to me one of its strengths.

The Swedish moniker "Svartsyn" loosely translates as "black feel" and that's exactly what this album emanates.