Friday, August 14, 2015

Skaur : "Farvel"

Time for a straight up Norwegian black metal album. Sure we covered Myrkur, but these two albums are miles apart. The album title is Danish for "Goodbye". This used to be a one-man project brought to you by Normann the ex-guitarist from Iskald. He has since recruited other members to fill things out . A wise choice. The guitar work is interesting, while this is unmistakably black metal. Not just tremolo picking but melodies that weave their way in and out of the drumming , the vocals hold off until the final moments of the song and when they come in they are agonized in a tormented Attila like fashion. Maybe even more shrieking."Sommer" stays on a similar pace to the opener, more double bass and dropping into some half time punches, the vocals are more dominant in this song. The guitars ring out like a cross between Liturgy and Darkthrone. They shift from riff to riff like a progressive band might. Clean vocals call out from the distance as the song swirling around at time folk tinged rhythms. On what translates to "old days" they have cemented their sound, the pace is more waltzing with blasts thrown in around the guitar melodies. This begins to give the album a rather monochromatic feel at first listen and really requires multiple listens to fully absorb.

 When they slow down to favor the guitar parts their song benefit the most. But this is black metal you say...shouldn't there just be a bunch of mindless blasting? Well if you are playing as intricate lines as these guys are and not just hanging on a few chords and droning then they should be heard. When the guitars sustain the notes and the drums blast under them it works. When the slow down at times this gives the bass player time to catch up and provide and underlying melody. They begin to make head way in this regard on "Nordland". The clean vocals come more to the forefront and the oddly paced timing and placement of the guitar melodies make this one of the albums best songs.They close out the album with the title track that has a beautiful flow to it. It fights off the blast beats that would otherwise distract you from the very nuanced playing. Despite the geographic difference , at times it hits the  melodic sonics that the cascadian bands tap into. The vocals become even more twisted to the point of having a depressive slant to them. Things get pretty chaotic towards the end and then a sweeping guitar line goes into a solo and begins to take the song out on an epic note.

Though bands of this nature don't normally tour , I think they would be wise to take this on the road, as the album would work well in a live setting. However touring can be a challenge for European bands so that is merely wishful thinking. If you like more recent Mayhem and are open minded when it comes to your black metal I think this album is for you. I'll give it a 9, though it is so detailed I'm not sure how much casual listen this will garner on my part, but this is so well compose and executed it deserves that high of a score, as they take sounds you are familiar with and make them something of their own.


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