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Svartsyn: Bloodline

Svartsyn have been around since the early 90's. They were originally called Chalice in 1991 but then changed names. Unfortunately, despite being a band with great potential, they never quite took off, mostly due to various lineup and label problems. The songs on Bloodline were actually all recorded between 1997 and 1998, but it wasn't until 2005 that they could get the music mastered.

The album consists of eleven tracks, with two bonus songs from their now-rare Tormentor EP. Their music is an eerie blend of early 90's Scandinavian black and some technical instrumentation. Some of the guitar work by Ornias is quite challenging, but former Dark Funeral drummer Draugen is the real deal here. He is an excellent player with great rhythmic development, serving the songs with the right tempo changes and beats. The rhythm work of the first song "Terrordemon" is mind-bending and works quite well within the context of the song. There is plenty of guitar groove and the typical black metal shrieking abounding Svartsyn's songs, but sadly, the album gets a bit samey after its first half. I hate to write such reviews, but even after ten listens, I can't see any variation in form or structure whatsoever in their songs. It's always a fast tremelo-picked guitar with pounding drum and bass work accompanying it. Ornias' singing is ice cold, just as black metal vocals in the mid-90's were supposed to be. Although the songs all seem to follow a pre-set formula, they do contain some moments where the band deviates from the flow. The shredding guitars of "Vampyric Sleep", which also boasts terrific drumming; the unexpected breakdowns of "Upon the Throne"; the rarely utilised keyboard work of "Great Mysteries of Death", with some female spoken segments in the intro; the epic guitar harmony of "Starcursed and Dead"; and most importantly the gripping main riff of "From Haunted Depths" are worth checking out. It would, however, be much better if the band had honed these ideas into more defined and structured compositions.

The two bonus tracks are very hard to listen; the production is simply awful, even by black metal standards. The vocals are distant and sort of buried under chunks of rhythms and a lonely drum beat. The tremelo guitars, while competent, are hard to pick - it feels like these songs were recorded deliberately on the cheapest recording system.

I wouldn't consider Svartsyn essential, except for die-hard black metal fans. Those who like cold sounding, early 90's black metal by Swedish bands may want to check it out.

Track Listing

  1. Terrordemon
  2. Bloodline
  3. Vampyric Sleep
  4. Upon the Throne
  5. Great Mysteries of Death
  6. Starcursed and Dead
  7. From Haunted Depths
  8. Witches Dance for Satan
  9. Waves of Eternal Darkness
  10. Goat Thone [*]
  11. Throne of the Antichrist [*]

Added: August 20th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Svartsyn website
Hits: 2051
Language: english

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