slegestI Fortida Sitt Lis starts up and after the storm sample it winds up on a riff that sounds pretty much like Hawkwind playing black metal. Welcome to the world of Slegest; a curious and determinedly individual take on black metal created by Ese when he left Vreid.

I was very taken with the debut, Loyndom, when it came out a couple of years ago. The band’s blend of more traditional heavy metal riffs and approach with black metal ‘s edge, attack and darker atmosphere was already perfectly formed and expertly mixed and Vidsyn is a continuation of that. Fast forward to the superb ‘Wolf’ and you get this vision at is best: This is not one style slapped on top of another, this is a hybrid, a chimaera, where the fusion is down at the genetic level and you follow rolling NWOBHM riffs and Sabbath density played through a black filter and gnarled, snarled vocals. ‘Inn I Uvissao’ has a melancholy melody that almost goes Blue Oyster Cult but instead simply flows into a driving black metal riff and then rises again into that emotional Grand Magic quality melody and dips again into a slow doomy drive.

I think one of the finest things about Slegest’s songs, and make no mistake they are very much about the songs, is that whereas you can spot influences; Sabbath, that aforementioned NWOBHM style, an echo of Immortal now and then maybe, what you actually hear is Slegest. When the song is listened to they actually don’t sound much like anyone other than Slegest. Although they are a fully formed and regular live band, in the studio this is very much a one man affair and so pronounced is the vision here that it very much seems a wise choice.

The other thing to mention is attitude. There is a low slung guitar swagger and groove to Vidsyn as a whole album. A sardonic half grin creeping round the edges of the sinister riffs and vocals now and then. It’s a darkly charismatic glitter to the eye, a band enjoying stripping the meat back to the bloody heavy metal bones and rebuilding it with worn leather and sinew.

Ah, really, it’s just a fine heavy metal album. Blackened NWOBHM. Norwegian Sabbath. Something like that. Dark, yeah, grim, maybe but an album that actually enjoys putting a little darkness in you. Great stuff.

(8/10 Gizmo)