Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Svikt: I Elendighetens Selskap (2011)


A lot of extreme metal reviews will contain some kind of comment about how the album will piss off "genre purists" or the "genre nazis", especially when it comes to black metal. I generally tend to associate with more forward-thinking metalheads, so after a while I start to wonder whether these becorpsepainted people actually exist, painstakingly typing out diatribes against rule-breakers whilst mangling computer desks with gauntlet spikes.

Well, apparently they exist somewhere, or we wouldn't have bands like Svikt. Their debut I Elendighetens Selskap caught my attention because it was entirely in their native Norwegian. It sounds exactly like Norwegian black metal is supposed to sound: trebly and epic, with harsh rasped vocals, aggressive drums, and inaudible bass. They do break one rule, I suppose, but I think the preference for crappy production is fading even among these mysterious purists.

The riffs are for the most part quite good. There are a few weak spots, like "Gråbein I Fåreklær", and "Maktesløs" has a weird . . . polka breakdown? I guess? But with great tracks like "Natfall", they make up for whatever weak spots there may be. The vocals, too, are an excellent example of the style, even if they are generic.

The drums, on the other hand, do not sound good. Chief among the compositional weaknesses is "Lemlestet Fordumssy". It seems drawn from an infinite well of monotony with its relentlessly dull bass drum attack. But even when the drum compositions aren't bad, the drums still sound bad. I swear they're programmed, although the band does appear to have a drummer.

The Verdict: Genre purists will be pleased, but they probably don't care what I have to say about it anyway. They are supposed to read and write reviews for the sake of proving their purity and policing the purity of others, not to find out whether an album is good. Anyone else could do a whole lot worse than this. And if you were seeking out the perfect example of how Norwegian black metal is supposed to sound, this could be it. I give I Elendighetens Selskap 3 out of 5 stars.

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