There are so many things that make black metal what it is. You could argue for days about which element is most important; is it the ideology, the sound, the recording, etc. And you would probably get an immeasurable number of answers along the way. But it seems, more often than not, that black metal is accompanied by an emotional attachment in some form or another; a tremendous pain or suffering. And how a band or artist gets that emotion across to their listener can define the success of failure of an album, as a whole. While we might never be sure what drives Svartblod as an artist, his raw black metal project The End may be the perfect vessel for him to express his anguish. With many layers that extend beyond sound to visual and emotional, he has poured every ounce of himself into a four song outing that pulls at your heartstrings, while standing on your jugular. And as you go deeper, from artwork to title, title to music, you start to get the sense that you might carry some of this weight with you, long after the album is over. And that helps "You Made The Rain Disappear..." keep you right where it wants you.
The strength of the album may also be it's only weakness, as you find early on in "Lost Memories." While Svartbod creates some stunning melodies, they are often buried behind a layer of drums that is powerful, but overbearing. The beautiful atmospheric quality, in both the guitars and other sounds, is a delicate one, and falls victim to the standard black metal production value. This isn't to say it falls flat; there is still a great deal of ambiance and subtlety behind it all, such as on "Shallow Hearts, Empty Streets." Featuring a guest vocal spot from Tenebra, sees a greater balance between percussion and solemn instrumentation. The softly spoken words that come are mesmerizing, inducing a sense of sadness, regardless of your language or location. As those whisper turn to screams, you have a clash of emotions, depending on how you align yourself within the mix. Piano keys bring depressing thoughts, while the yells and screams bring anger. Perhaps the best work on the album is "Expectations," featuring Isabelle Garcet. Having found that much needed delicate balance, Svartblod brings a lot of different elements to the table, both soothing and searing. His machine gun drums are under control, and allow room to breathe for the less forceful components. A rare twist, the closing track is both the most beautiful and most aggressive. The first minute of "Ashes In The Wind" is the musical representation of the cover art, while the chaotic splash immediately after is the counterpoint. A few pained screams, courtesy of Lavin Uruksoth, emerge late in the track, giving you one helping of true black metal.
No matter how hard we try, we will never truly feel what our favorites bands and artists are putting across. Svartblod, without hesitation, has painted a bleak, and yet dynamic picture for us on this EP. But as much as we can delve into the sounds, structures and tones, we will never feel that same pain or sadness. However, he has gotten us as close as possible through digital media. What stands out here is the ability to pass emotion through a series of tubes and wires known as the internet (thank you, Al Gore). Through contrast alone, he makes his work jump out of your speakers, surrounding you with blasting drum beats and a finely tuned ethereal haze which, somehow, complement each other by being polar opposites. Add to that the connection, perceived or real, between the music, the artwork, and title, and you have a moving, profound experience for anyone who should stumble upon it. We might never know what pain is the subject of "You Made The Rain Disappear..." but we've been lucky enough to ehar it play out in front of us.
Bandcamp - http://theendblackmetal.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/theendofficialdomain