At the helm of this solo project is Norwegian multi-instrumentalist B. Kråbøl who also has another project called Misotheist that I’m not familiar with but has a single self-titled album released in 2018. It appears Mr Kråbøl has decided to release this self-titled project instead of another album under the Misotheist moniker and the first thing that strikes you when you hear this is that winter has returned in the middle of summer. As I baked in the 25ºC plus heat listening to this album it struck me how wintry and arctic the atmosphere he has produced throughout the four tracks that begins with ‘Kroppens Mani’.
An isolated bleak stricken guitar riff with simplistic drum beat is delivered that creates a portentous aura before the vocals filter in. Being slightly deeper in tone was surprising, but no less malignant as the depth in intonation is demonic before the blast beat is unveiled but lightly done in the mix typical of old school black metal of 25 years or so ago. The hypnotic and relentless pacing creates a shoegazing effect without being psychedelic of course as this is nihilistic barbarity, but entrenched within the opener are tendrils of melodicism where ambient strains are linked to eerie passages.
‘Forringelse’ has slower more despondent opening sequence that produces a funereal atmosphere that I particularly like in black metal, that sense of depressiveness where a slithering crawling malfeasance lurks at the corners of your psyche before the slight twist in the riff to a quirkiness and catchiness that is very infectiousness. There is a pagan like quality here, lightly dabbed into the mix via the riffing and atmosphere as the pace again is transfixing where the deliberately slow pace gives a trance like aura.
‘Irrangen’ is my favourite of the album, with a sinister opening riff, the song has a miserable ethos, truly sorrowful initially before the blast beat ensues with huge force but with ingrained bleakness as acts like Nargaroth and Drudkh came to mind. The caustic drive of the song is linked to the harsh pernicious guitar tone that pierces every fibre of your body with malevolent intent. The drifting riffing has a ghostly macabre effect; a manifestation of your own personal nightmares conjured sonically.
Closing the release is ‘Daukjøttet’, a soundscape of atmospherics that is as dramatic as it is haunting before the abrupt detonation in speed that really catches you unawares. The initial ambient charging leads you to think it will channel its energy down a purely ambient track but it quickly produces a relentless tirade of blast beat, which again is softly embedded into the mix. The track has an inhumanity about it, where the speed is unmitigated until another tangential change in pace into a crawling funereal dirge like pace. The drop is cataclysmic but very brief and highly effective before returning to the speed as the echoing bellowed vocals enhance the inhumanity enormously.
Embittered, hostile, distressing, glacial, pestilential are all apt superlatives for this superb black metal album as I urge all fans of raw black metal to pick it up.
(9/10 Martin Harris)