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Arvet: Aijna

Arvet is yet another black metal band succumbing to the image standards of the genre while truly taking black metal a step back rather than forward. Their debut album, Aijna, inspired a few laughing fits with how over-the-top it is. Firstly, the band photo, which is mostly blurred, yet you can vaguely make out the figure of the band members with the typical make-up on. It reminded us a lot of an amateur photo of a fleeing raccoon. Secondly, the song titles are impossible to repeat, and similarly impossible to type. It's like online CAPTCHA codes taken to a new extreme. Lastly, there are scan lines on the back cover from where the track list and other drawings were scanned in from paper, giving it the appearance of a somewhat sloppy high school art project. Not a big deal at all, but definitely worthy of a chuckle.

Oh, and the stage names... Such chilling monikers, such as "Noxifer", "Zetekh", "Chaoswind", and... "A".

Continuing to the actual musical content of Aijna; there are several issues that drag the album down when compared to other black metal bands of the last two decades and music in general. The entire album is mixed in mono with no stereo separation whatsoever. Considering that huge limitation, it's surprising that you can make anything out at all. The drums sit under the guitar with a messy, muddy tone. The guitar tone isn't bad, but it's center panned and overpowers the rest of the music which in turn removes all of the strength from the rest of the music, and the guitar itself. Most of the time, you can't hear the bass guitar at all, only when the guitars are played in a higher octave and move out of the bass range. The vocal range from moans to yells and some nice, croaky screams. There is too much volume variance in the vocal tracks due to a lack of dynamics processing; sometimes they're loud, at other times you can barely hear them. Some compression would have done wonders for the vocals as a whole; but still, the mixing on the album as a whole is an issue.

Often, it seems like little to no attention is paid to what the band collectively is actually performing. A good example of this presents itself shortly after the middle of "Samaelin Palatsi", while two vocal lines are going at once with different timing, the guitarists continue to play the main repetitive riff of the song but an octave higher, and the bassist is playing anything that seems to fit. Disregarding the mono stereo image and unbalanced mixing, it's still important to have some form of composition or direction in music, or else it's just a bunch of people playing at the same time rather than an actual band.

Nobody expects black metal to be produced commercially. Having a crude sound can contribute to a band's charm and create an amazing atmosphere for an album -- Burzum is proof of this. Arvet is at the extreme end of the spectrum where the production is so poor that the atmosphere can't even be experienced. You may argue that it is "art", but such arguments are better left to the hipsters and away from black metal. There's a spot of good here and there; particularly the progression at 3:50 in "Rukous Mestarillisen Ajatuksen Oivaltamiseksi" was quite triumphant. If only Arvet could have had a more coherent sound for their debut album, it could have struck a much better chord.

Track Listing
1. Kuoleman Äiti
2. Samaelin Palatsi
3. Rukous Mestarillisen Ajatuksen Oivaltamiseksi
4. Hirtetyn Mestarin Temppeli
5. Hunnuton - Kuoleman Voitto
6. Liekehtivä Dharana
7. Tehomothin Kaksoistähti
8. Ainias

Added: February 25th 2012
Reviewer: Brandon Strader
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 2063
Language: english

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