Den Saakaldte

Kapittel II: Faen i helvete

Written by: AP on 21/12/2014 18:48:47

Under ordinary circumstances, would it be construed as positive when the promotional sheet for an album reads: ”One of the most hateful records Norway has spawned … A twisted remedy for joy”? One would certainly hope not. But that is nonetheless the preamble upon which listeners are invited to immerse themselves in “Kapittel II: Faen i helvete” (which translates roughly to “Chapter II: Goddamnit”), the third studio album by Norwegian black metal group Den Saakaldte (The So-Called) who, as most such bands, feature an assortment of current and former musicians from other practitioners of the genre in Norway - most notably bassist Seidemann, who has forged underground fame with 1349.

On paper, the credentials of Den Saakaldte are certainly in order then, and despite the humble first half, opening track "Din siste dag" sounds as a band packing serious experience should. Once progressed past a hard hitting mid section, the song begins its ascent toward the halls of Valhalla with vocalist Eldur's ominous chanting and, finally, a monolithic crescendo complete with the sort of freezing tremolo grandeur for which Norwegian black metal is famed. The music is wrapped in modern colours when it comes to production; dense and fuzzy, songs like the standout "Forbanna idioter" utilise a cavernous, claustrophobic tone reminiscent of Gorgoroth, accentuating the intensity of Den Saakaldte's music whilst shunning the organic rawness of the genre's original sound.

There is nonetheless the unmistakable touch of Darkthrone to these proceedings, with the discord and unhinged evil of "Du selvproklamerte misjonær" recalling the madness of those legends. But by way of novelty, Den Saakaldte offer little. All of this exists in the work of those that came before them, be it the subtle presence of old school punk in the rhythmic foundation of Seidemann & drummer Tybalt; or the barren, wintery atmosphere which reigns over the album. No question about it: "Kapittel II..." is a strong piece of music, yet lacking the elusive it which makes the renowned contingent of their peers such thrilling propositions. Den Saakaldte aren't as batshit crazy as Taake, nor as all encompassing in their onslaught as 1349; not bristling with raw energy like Darkthrone, nor harnessing such evil as Gorgoroth.

As such, with "Kapittel II..." Den Saakaldte settle into the middle echelons of Norwegian black metal, boasting a selection of well written songs that especially triumph via their grasp on the Scandinavian style of epic, yet harrowing melody. Enchanting is the shamanic chanting which Eldur often employs to conjure an air mysticism, too; yet while all of this is recognisably solid, Den Saakaldte still need to discover an edge which would truly separate them from the hordes of their kinsmen.

6

Download: Forbanna idioter, Du selvproklamerte misjonaer, Djevelens verk
For the fans of: 1349, Gorgoroth, Taake
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.05.2014
Agonia Records

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