If you arrived early enough for the Inquisition/In Solitude/CoF/Behemoth tour a bit more than a year ago, then you may have seen a few minutes of Svarttjern. For their fourth album on a fourth label – maybe not a great sign for them – these Norwegians continue to use a traditional black metal recipe. Finding a proper compromise between energy and a more melodic approach, with some straight-up in-your-face tracks and others a bit more refined and softer, Svarttjern offer a very clean-sounding and dynamic album. All instruments are audible in the mix, with catchy tunes full of tremolo, thrash and the occasional Celtic Frost ‘ugh’.
It’s when they’re more on the melancholic side that Svarttjern have more impact, with ‘Blessed Flesh’ being one of the highlights of the album. If you enjoy Urgehal, and are not afraid of heavy doses of melody that could have appeared on Dissection, Lord Belial or Vinterland albums, then this can be an album for you.
Now, please be also aware that there’s not much new here, if anything at all. If you already have dozens of melodic black metal albums at home, this one will definitely not disgrace your collection as being far from a bad one, but it’s also doubtful this will turn into a cult gem to frequently listen to in the coming years…
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