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His Majesty needs attention - 76%

Felix 1666, April 28th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Unexploded Records (Digipak)

Evil has many forms and one of them is presented by Svartsyn. An underground-compatible production paints an ominous, archaic picture. The nearly opaque mix lacks clarity, but it generates such an unholy atmosphere that any type of minor flaws can be neglected. Those of you who love to walk through clammy underground passageways will know this special kind of shower running down the spine and the here presented sound brings this feeling to life, even though one is sitting in a well-tempered lounge. Of course, this kind of reverberating sound has never been a state-of-the-art production, but it fulfils its purpose.

Svartsyn have always been disciples of the darkest art and it goes without saying that "...His Majesty" also does not know any other colour. This is pristine black metal with a great portion of hatred and misanthropy, even if one considers that the sub genre has never taken care for the bright side of life. Either way, I am confronted with high velocity outbursts and sometimes I have the feeling that the guitars always play the same tone. That's surely nonsense, but from my point of view, the material lacks a bit of diversity, even though highlights like "Dungeons" or "I'm Cleopatra's Killer" shine with some morbid lines. To say the songs are interchangeable might be too harsh, but significant differences between them are mostly also not identifiable. By the way, this statement applies for both, style and, to a certain degree, quality. Perhaps it was part of the concept to create an unending stream of cruel guitar tones? Either way, Svartsyn do not disappoint. Their fury, ferocity and determination reflect the spiritual fundament of the sub genre. Nevertheless, the combination of the pretty complex song patterns and the impenetrable sound challenges the listener, inter alia due to the total absence of parts which keep sticking in the ears immediately.

But maybe I am just a fast-food-music-consumer and therefore I should be fair with records like "...His Majesty". Moreover, it belongs to the early works of the Swedish ambassadors of evil. Hence it comes as no surprise that a few sections are going nowhere, for example some guitar leads of "It Breathes". Svartsyn have put their pitch black souls into the creation of this album, they spit on atmospheric keyboards, female vocals, acoustic guitars and further pretty superfluous ingredients. That's great, I like their stubbornness as well as I like this full-length. It's an album for special hours and no easy-listening-black-metal, it rather calls for total concentration of the audience. However, I am sure that most of us have become metal fans exactly because of the willingness to consume music very attentively. Thus, it's up to you to decode "...His Majesty". It needs a lot of devotion, but it is worth the effort.

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.

...His Majesty - 98%

Orlok666, March 24th, 2012

In the world of black metal Svartsyn are somehow overlooked by many, why this is is beyond me, as they are one of my favorites. The first thing I heard by them was the Arckanum split (which is up there as being one of the best and most essential splits in black metal) and I was very impressed by Svartsyn's side on it. A little later I found this release in a used shop and picked it up. I was impressed at first by the booklet, the band photos are drenched in a mysterious and obscure occultism, and actually serve to really heighten the atmosphere of the album, giving the proper mental framework before putting the record on.

From the beginning we are submerged in a chaotic storm of ice cold riffing. The production is very harsh and uncompromising, guitars are a blaze of distortion, mixing with the very distorted bass which operates as an important factor in the sound. The drumming is organic and compressed sounding, giving it a very unique sound in black metal. What I find is that the sound compresses all the elements together to create one massive sound, which gives the riffing strength when they start to break out and move into epic territory.

The vocals are a distorted and highly reverberated and delayed attack, used almost as another instrument and very sparsely. On top of this we have moments where strange sounds and percussive elements bang on top of the instruments creating a ravaged blown out speaker sound similar to some Arckanum releases.

The music is played very passionately, the drumming and guitar riffs creating an adrenaline high type of feeling that leaves the listener breathless. Sometimes it'll slow down and move into different tempos, which works well, but the general pace of this album is fast and unrelenting. The riffing and songwriting is really unique on here. I haven't heard anyone really do anything similar. It moves from more chordal or power chord based sections to parts with very unique and epic riffs that create a singular mood of power and intense emotion. Perhaps at times Immortal's release Pure Holocaust can be given as a sign post, or maybe early Gorgoroth, but they are only a suggestion, Svartsyn really don't sound like anyone else.

Mood is very important on here, Svartsyn are strong on atmosphere throughout. The atmosphere is oppressive yet epic, highlighting the lyrical focus which is on morbid, occultic and apocalyptic themes. Lyrics and vocals work to highlight the feeling of the songs, and are used in a sparse fashion. Later releases by the band continue this approach, with long stretches of instrumentals. This album features a much stronger vocal presence, but still shows a focus on the instrumentation and riffing as a key to the understanding of the artists intent.

Even when moving into more old school sections of d-beats or slower tempos, Svartsyn give a kind of twisted method of applying those influences, which gives this album even more of the obscure feelings. It's hard to explain how an album can by very mysterious, obscure and yet epic, but Svartsyn manage it. You'll just have to listen to get it.

I'm not sure if this album or this band in general is for everyone, but I recommend not only this album but their entire discography to anyone who is into occultic and Satanic black metal. Particularly in these days of Orthodox black metal bands, Svartsyn stand as something much more real and primal though in a similar vein. If you like Arckanum or the earlier Norwegian and Swedish bands this album should be for you.

A great Black/Thrash combination - 84%

Visionary, March 23rd, 2006

Svartsyn has never gained much of a following due to numerous problems with labels and lineup changes. …His Majesty remains to be their best full length to date. They manage successfully to take the rawness of early 90s Scandinavian black metal and combine it with rather technical guitars and pummeling blast beats to give the heavy thrash edge.

The True Legend was the bands debut album which had some excellent songwriting but the production was utterly horrible ruining the whole listening experience. Fortunately the band managed to keep a relatively high quality of songwriting and fix the production issues with …His Majesty. The atmosphere that can be found here is one that is fairly cold and hate-filled and often chaotic which is very common for black metal except that due to the thrashier nature you also get a good head-banging experience.

The drums pummel the listener with endless double bass and goddamn can this drummer play. Though not really similar I am reminded of Kreator’s masterpiece, Pleasure to Kill. The drummer is particulary noticeable in Nekromantic Flesh where he bangs the shit out of the drums and even has the odd solo. Good stuff. Plenty of good guitar riffs can be found here though not as aggressive on the debut. The riffs usually repeat 5 or 6 times before they are changed which is good as it is not overly repetitive. Occasionally the riffs verge into chaotic territory while never losing focus enhancing the atmosphere. There are numerous thrash breaks throughout which are done very well. The vocals are fairly typical ice cold shrieks that echo through the sound but unlike the debut they do not drown everything else out. The vocals sound like they were recorded by a cheep recorder and sound slightly to abrasive than I would have liked but does not inhibit too much.

The only real weakness with this album besides the vocals which I already mentioned is that the length is only 31 minutes. This barely warrants a full length over an EP. There is no filler at all here so I am hardly complaining.

So overall a very competent black/thrash release, and is the best album to date. A bit of a shame that the band lost much of the aggression with Destruction of Man but fortunately it returned for the split with Arckanum.

Standout tracks include, Tunnels of his Majesty and, Nekromantic Flesh