Since 2010 and over the course of two previous albums, Stig Ese has steered Slegest on their wonderfully idiosyncratic course towards black ‘n’ roll nirvana. As I have mentioned before, Slegest are a genuine hybrid of black and heavy metal from the roots up rather than one being grafted to the other later and the feel of one over the other will always depend on the song and the way the wind blows I guess.

Introvert, their third album, begins with the very metal rock and roll of ‘Blodets Varme Gjennom Meg’ with a snaking melody line atop the insistent NWOBHM riff that, with the harsh vocals sometimes slides smoothly through a harsher, slightly punk black metal tone. It’s insanely riddled with hooks that kind of remind me of old Warrior Soul in places, a weird melancholy to it. Follow up ‘Undergangens Tankesmed’ is a lot more bouncy but again the melody liner hooks you easily.

I’m tempted to say that at least initially this feels like the heavy metal is leading the black a fair bit more but, like most things with Slegest it’s a bit deceptive. Occasionally you get the stoner doom vibe driving in, bringing a darker vibe but it surges forward with such verve and you can still feel the more extreme DNA down there, somehow. Yeah maybe the heavy metal is slightly more in ascendance on Introvert, maybe…

If you’ve never heard Slegest before this may make it seem like the sound is all over the place but that is genuinely the last thing they come across as. This really is the whole sound. Even on the almost Immortal sounding riffs of ‘Det Brenne I Glast’ this sounds so much like a truly focussed band; a weird heavy/black metal with a pinch of punk and doom. One rich and damned tasty stew perfectly cooked up. The songwriting underpins everything. They are not stealing anyone’s clothes like some post rock band trying out black metal riffs, this comes from a background and understanding of black metal simply led through another door. They retain something dark and demonic even with all the heavy metal flowing like on closer ‘Den Onder Sirkel’ and it permeates their blood.

It’s the third winner in a row for me. You all really need to give them a listen; hard steel spines and still sharp claws amidst the catchy hooks and melody and an ability to wind up the tension make this great dark metal. More power to Slegest.

Unique, beguiling and also…well, you know, fun. Yeah. Puts an evil little grin on my face every time I hear it.

(8/10 Gizmo)