Svarti Loghin
Empty World

While you don’t have to be depressed to enjoy depressive black metal, there’s probably only so much Walknut and Ruins of Beverast-style grimness you can take. That’s why a band like Svarti Loghin is a nice find. Like Drudkh, Alcest or Agalloch, they bring a warmer, more pleasantly wistful sound to the black metal experience without losing any authenticity in the process.

Starting with “Karg Nordisk Vinter” and follow-up “Inner Desolation,” this Swedish band is a spot-on example of the sub-genre. Riffs are simple enough to invite reverie, but compositions offer enough variety to keep things interesting as well. Tortured vocals are perfectly buried in the mix. And drums strike that perfect balance between urgency and understatement. So far, so good… but then the title track hits.

Simply put, this is what happy black metal might sound like. Happy country-western black metal. It’s not quite Kenny Chesney, but these are melodies you just never hear with buzzsaw guitars and pained yowling. It’s a WTF moment on par with last year’s Vikings-Go-to-the-Caribbean number from Equilibrium‘s Sagas. And while that song came off like an amusing misstep, this one is just… wrong. Wrong like melting cheese over Chinese food, or like masturbating to a picture of Ann Coulter. Shit like this just shouldn’t happen, and yet, it’s perversely fascinating.

The rest of the album moves back into appropriately bleak territory, although the compositions aren’t quite as varied as the opener. That’s okay, because all in all, this is a very solid depressive black metal album. It’s certainly one I’ll come back to based on its merits alone, and also just to hear that bizarre title track again.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
February 19th, 2009


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