Ex Inferi

Written by: EW on 18/09/2010 18:55:40

The sound of True Norwegian Black Metal is always a pleasantly reassuring one; just like a pint of mild or good curry, it never fails to do the trick. This here is in context of Svartahrid who formed back in the genre's glory (and fiery) days in 1994. Now on album five they've never reached the premier league of the genre (partly I'm sure through their unusual lack of shared members with other bands) and while "Ex Inferi" is unlikely to change that it is nevertheless a decent record for anyone who likes their BM straight-up and in your face.

Boasting a more 'natural' and clinical BM sound that best recalls Darkthrone and Kampfar, Svartahrid's approach is unpretentious and simple in it's execution but it's not to say there aren't moments that stand out as worthy of note. The title track possesses a lead riff Melechesh would be proud of, "Blessed By Darkness" harbours a sweaty thrashy feel akin to fellow Norwegians Aura Noir while "Lake Of Despair" displays some fine riffing chops atop the background atmospherics. Of course all good BM 'must' come with crap production, but here Svartahrid have hit upon a style clear enough for enjoyment but far from mechanised and glossy, which if my experience is anything to go by, will allow you to 'get' the album straight away.

Don't expect the theatrics of a Gorgoroth or Dark Funeral album nor the total 'fuck you' of recent Darkthrone efforts for Svartahrid are followers, not leaders. Followers, however, with a clear passion for the genre and a knowledge for how they wish it to sound. Much like Kampfar have become for me, expect Svartahrid on the basis of "Ex Inferi" to be a band that you can turn to when in the mood for some solid, reassuring good True Norwegian Black Metal.


Download: Ex Inferi, Lake Of Despair, Blessed By Darkness
For the fans of: Kampfar, Aura Noir, Darkthrone
Listen: Myspace

Release date May 2010
Soulseller Records

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