Monday, May 16, 2011

Skogen - Svitjod (2011)

Skogen is one of Sweden's newest black metal bands to hit the stage with their newly released album entitled "Svitjod." The album consist of ghostly melodic riffs, frightening vocals, and overwhelming drumming. The atmospherically raw recording sets up ghoulish imagery and ambient surroundings.

The first track, entitled "Dighra Dodh," opens with evil screeching guitars and monstrous vocals that will capture your ear immediately. The vocals are grim and full of black metal undertone. "Haxsabbet (Crimen Laesae Divinae Majestatis)" follows with soothing guitar riffs and eerie strings. They are mixed with violent drumming that will have you relaxed, yet hyper at the same time. The guitar work is truly remarkable, as they fill the song with an emotional vision of darkness. Also the drum fills after the verses are full of quick detail and really build excitement and energy as the song continues.

Harsh growling combined with demonic guitar melodies blast throught the 7 minute masterpiece entitled "Midnattens Gilmrande Stillhet." Be prepared to thrash your head to the drumming, as the double bass pedal action takes complete control over your mind. Halfway through the song enters haunting chanting vocals between the verses that present a similar sound to that of the Norwegian symphonic black metal outfitters Dimmu Borgir. The song structure is absolutely magnificent as the tempo changes back and forth. The opportunity for rest is minimal in the epic performance.

The album slows down with the epic "Vinterriket," which runs for over 11 minutes. The instrumentation is astounding as they incorporate ominous synthesizers, heavy guitars chugging dark minor chords, and gorgeous melodic acoustic notes all in one. Even the vocals switch between deep monstrous growling to calm depressive clean singing. A beautiful acoustic guitar solo enters about 4 and a half minutes in. This is filled with both melancholy emotion and an angelic feel. "Storm" is another similar epic beauty that definitely deserves some attention. The tempo stays slow and dark, but contains tons of distorted screechy guitars and more incredible vocal power throughout.

Things pick up speed with the electrifying "Blodornshamnd." Blaring guitar rifts come flying at you carrying dark melodic tones. Wrecking cymbals sour over the rapid double bass predal drumming while devilish sounds consume the atmosphere. This is definitely a "must hear" song you will not want to skip!

The album is well balanced with terrific structure and terrifying vocals. "Svitjod" definitely has the potential to set Skogen apart from other black metal bands. Although they are still fairly new, this is a great step in the right direction.


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