Written by: EW on 09/01/2014 23:04:01

Not knowing the Slegest name I signed up for their debut album "Løyndom" on the basis of the album cover bearing strong similarity to Thyrfing's "Farsotstider" (an album I love), and it turns out I made a good decision in doing so. They, or should I say lone member Ese, doesn't sound akin to Thyrfing, but he peddles dark Norwegian attitudes in a surprisingly rocking album full of verve and panache. The simple 4/4 drumbeat and riff which starts opener "Ho Som Haustar Aleine", will tell you a very great deal about the subsequent direction of the album from here. The doom rocking vibes bleed from every pore, bringing to mind fellow Norwegian practioners old, Enslaved, and new, fellow Devil and Sarke, as a grizzled production and lack of virtuosity mark out a performance low on showmanship but revelling in the crusty, smoke-filled aura of subterranean rock. Alas, it is not quite as simple as that however, for Ese's croaky vocals mine the same collective well Grutle of Enslaved drinks from, burning a blackened tone into the album's blueprint. Furthering the Enslaved influence is the lead guitar tone heard through much of the album; "Faceless Queen", "Løgna Sin Fiende" and "Rooted in Knowledge" happily certify the band's own roots in transcending genres in the making of a vibrant new entity.

Slegest's (/Ese's) reluctance to add shine or virtuosity is a drawback in the moments when the energy levels falter as the transcending gloom drags the flow into a morass of self-depreciation that is not befitting the groove he gets into during "Løgna...", the fantastically catchy "Dirt Life Death" or the opener. As a standout track I would put "Dirt Life Death" on a pedestal close to The Devil's Blood's "Christ or Cocaine" - these are two tracks which possess the potential to appeal to black metallers looking for a swinging darkened beat, and old-time rock fans after a spark of passionate youth to inject into their battered old LP collection. Like all the best rock it is based around that 4/4 beat with a rising then falling intonation coalescing into a passage that hits the spot on the very first listen, at the time sounding so similar yet unheard.

Performance-wise I am not convinced that Ese is pushing himself as hard as he could go, based on what he is capable of at times. There is that "Dirt Life Death" riff and the soloing in "Faceless Queen", but these are tempered with the more plodding "I Slike Stunder" and "The Path of No Return" which hold me back on my grading of the album; however this is far more than a mere debut release of a bedroom black metaller. The production is clear yet possessive of a requisite amount of grit to keep the album's scope grounded while the drum sound is natural and solid, facets that are rarely commendable in one-man project outings. At it's best, "Løyndom" reminds me of Devil's excellent effort from last year, and with some ironing out of a few rough edges Ese and his creative mind has the potential to please me similarly in time to come. A promising outing for a lone wolf.


Download: Dirt Life Death, Rooted in Knowledge
For The Fans Of: Devil, Enslaved, Sarke, Vreid
Listen: Facebook

Release date: 15.10.2013
Dark Essence Records

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