Taking inspiration from the natural fury of their country’s coastline, Norway’s Skaarv have released their first full length album following on from 2015’s “Seed Of Justice” EP. The band have managed to secure some decent live support slots including Audrey Horne and Sahg so they’ve had time to develop a sound they describe as “Pure and Genuine Oceanfront Metal”. A new genre perhaps? Time for a listen then…

The Down influence is apparent on opener, “Prey” with its’ groovy, punchy sludge attack. The bass bounces along while there’s a smoky, garage band feel to the song before segueing into “Confessions Of A Tongue Ripper”. The screamed vocals sound a little strangled at times and might benefit from some depth and grit to match the meaty riffs. Indeed, when singing clean André Iversen Péter seems to be in a little more control and this becomes apparent on the album’s longest track “Lulling In The Mist” which sees them putting out a more classic heavy metal sound. Beginning with a gentle Led Zeppelin melancholia, this is a building track that simmers away before culminating in a thick Soundgarden style chug.

A shift in gears comes on “Herald Of Lies” where they cut loose in more of a Black Label Society direction with an urgency to the riffs. Frank Ulla’s bass continues to deliver that heavy, rubbery bottom end while the guitar work from Kurt Idar Harnes and Øyvind Vasstein shows a little more Down worship on “Buried In The Sea” which crunches away quite nicely. These last two tracks are some of the album’s stronger moments with a driving groove that shows the band has something to offer.

Skaarv have come up with a respectable enough debut long player. Certainly, there’s enough here to warrant keeping an ear out for how they develop. Right now, they’ve got some solid tunes based on good influences; a bit more grunt in the vocal area wouldn’t go astray and would add some extra depth. Still worth giving a spin.

(6/10 Johnny Zed)