Well it seems like an ‘Eternal Night’ since we last heard from Norwegian band Evig Natt via their second album ‘Darkland’ back in 2010. Now they are back with self-released and self-titled album number three. Despite having a beauty and beast styled vocal delivery, don’t go expecting standard symphonic metal that you have heard a million times before from this quintet. Musically they are much darker and heavier than the normal contenders and that should be no surprise considering past and present acts they have all been involved in such as Thundra, Einherjer and even Throne Of Katarsis (in a live capacity). One thing that is quickly apparent here is that tub-thumper Harald M. Revheim isn’t there to slow the pace down and considering he was drummer on the mighty Eld from Enslaved that should give you some anticipation of just what to expect from his contribution.
After eerie sounds with ravens cawing in the background we flow into ‘How I Bleed’ and with the drums rolling around are greeted by the rugged and hoary vocals of Stein Roger Sund which are certainly beastly. Sweeping in after are the opposing tones of Kirsten Jørgensen which bring force, grace and beauty but with a gorgeousness natural flair about them rather than any operatic pomp. With them the music and melody really comes into its own and is rich and memorable drawing you in with intoxication at its heart. A breath is snatched with a piano and symphonic orchestration gently flowing away for a minute before the full weight and strength of the song comes back in. It’s heady stuff before ‘Silence Falls’ entrances with another lovely melody running through it. More of a ballad this one but a full bodice ripper of one, full of strength too and there’s plenty of substance going on musically. Although very different this will certainly appeal to those that love the likes of Within Temptation and as far as the song-writing is concerned Evig Natt know how to construct really strong and memorable tunes with plenty of hooks in them. The barbarian vocals and drumming on ‘In God I Grieve’ is really forceful and here I finally get a bit of a grip on the vocals from Kirsten and the melodic sweeps which take me back to Anneke van Giersbergen and The Gathering circa Nighttime Birds. Considering that is a favourite album of mine that’s pretty high praise too. Comparisons aside and they seriously are only fleeting ones, this stands incredibly strongly in its own right.
A couple of numbers such as ‘Stille før stormen’ switch from English to natural Norse tongue and add another dimension that is not hampered by lack of understanding. I don’t mean to belittle the song in the slightest as it is a passionate slow-burner but if a number like this had been entered into the recent Eurovision Song Contest it would have really rattled things up even if Stein’s growls might have unsettled any small children and old ladies watching. ‘Wildfire’ starts as an exercise in gentle piano and Kirsten’s vocals and is simply lush and gorgeous casting its icy touch down the spine. It does build up gradually and the vocals absolutely soar. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard in a while. With a title like ‘Bringer Of Ice’ you really expect the game to be upped and to claim a throne and indeed the blackness descends and swoops down. Symphonics are left to embellish but never overpower things and the natural flair is retained as this one gives you rugged grooves and frosty cleaves. ‘Svartsinn’ thrashes away equally choppy and tumultuous and the band are really putting plenty of power out and I realise have done enough to make me pretty much mention every track here, something I had no intention of doing. I guess that’s the mark of a strong album though when everything on it has identity and something worth mentioning about it. Having said that I’m going to leave last number a mystery as I have pretty much made it very clear that I totally enjoyed this and hope this will propel Evig Natt somewhere they deserve to be, both label wise and on stage.
(8/10 Pete Woods)