Written by: MST on 01/09/2014 01:07:36

Denmark's atmospheric black metallers Solbrud were on the receiving end of a considerable amount of hype with the release of their debut album back in 2012. A Roskilde booking and plenty of live shows later, the band return this year with their second album, "Jærtegn", another 4-song black metal record aiming for introversion and atmosphere instead of the Satanism too often associated with the genre even today. The dust may have settled since the band were massively hyped in the metal underground, but Solbrud are as relevant as ever and perhaps now even more worthy of the praise they've been receiving.

The music is still heavily aimed at atmosphere, with long passages consisting mainly of repititive, entrancing riffing, predominantly blasting drums and shrieked vocals. With four tracks ranging from 10 to 16 minutes, a proper listening experience to atmospheric black metal like this requires patience and an ability to accept the melancholic mood envisioned in large parts of the album. Rather than musical variety in terms of speed and feeling, Solbrud rely on their skills in combining the repititive riffs so that they slowly unfold and build upon one another. This allows their songs to become a lot more than just the sum of their parts, and on "Jærtegn" the result is a collection of songs that sound absolutely huge.

There's more to Solbrud's sound than mere riffs and drums though, as a big part of what makes this album an improvement over the debut is the extensive use of layered guitar tracks and effects that enhance the soundscape massively. This is especially the case with "Klippemennesket", a 16-minute colossus that relies on one simple riff for the majority of the song's running length, with an additional guitar track that creates some immensely powerful ambience in the background which keeps opening up new worlds for the song to conquer. This in addition to the long intro and outro of the track, which improves the wholeness of the album greatly, makes the song arguably the best that Solbrud have ever written. But what makes the album as a whole what it is is the fact that while certain songs are definitely better than others, there are no weak tracks present, and each song sounds subtly different despite the slightly samey compositions on the album.

The only real negative points to give this album are due to the lack of variety in terms of speed, as most of the album is in full blast mode, but since the album's riffs are written so that blasting drums complement them to great effect, this 'negative' point doesn't work against the album at all. There's practically no originality to be found here, but that is of no matter as fans of the genre will recognise this as quality atmospheric black metal that can easily stand beside the genre's heavyweights. As "Ursult" ends the album with a great effect-laden riff, it does so in style and invites the listener to hit the play button one more time. Credit must be given where credit is due, and in "Jærtegn" Solbrud have written a great album that feels complete. It may not challenge the norms of the genre, but it utilizes the strengths of the genre masterfully, and the result speaks for itself.

Download: Klippemennesket, Ursult
For The Fans Of: Wolves In The Throne Room, Weakling, Ash Borer
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.09.2014
Mighty Music / Target

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