Album Review: Skald in Veum – Stridslysten

Skald In Veum - Stridslysten - Metal Soliloquy

If someone told me Skald in Veum was a black metal band active in the 1990s, I would not be surprised in the slightest. Made up of five anonymous figures hailing from the frostbitten depths of Scandinavia, the band delivers some of the most aggressive, furious black metal you can imagine. Drawing influence from bands such as Dark Funeral, Immortal, Watain & 1349, Skald in Veum carry the torch of oldschool black metal into the modern age.

After releasing their highly acclaimed debut EP 1260 Days in 2015, it got silent around the band. Now, four years later, they are finally back with their debut full length album Stridslysten. I have not heard their EP debut, so I went into this album without any expectations – and I was blown away by it. These guys are not fooling around. The music offered on this beast of an album is aggressive, fast, relentless black metal that does not care about trends or current musical movements.

This is oldschool black metal at its finest. Supersonic blast beats, furious and sharp riffs and abrasive vocals make up the sound of Stridslysten. Do not expect atmospheric synths, folksy interludes or moments of silence on this album. You will find nothing here except black metal in its purest form. Well, and some strong black’n’roll tendencies here and there, ’cause at times this thing is groovy as heck.

Skald in Veum - Metal Soliloquy

Lyrically, the album is just as uncompromising and fierce. The band’s ideological leader “Heth” delivers lyrics reminiscent of the messages of the prophets of the old testament. They are preaching fire and brimstone – vengeance and furious anger over a stubborn world that seems to turn a blind eye to the injustice and ungodlyness displayed in every corner. Critisizing both society and the church, Skald in Veum leave no stone unturned and take you to a place and time where blood and fire bring rest.

Here is an example of what to expect lyrically:

These days we repeat such filth with pride.
Perversions elevated to the state of state-religion,
marching through the gates of every city.

Or how about this lovely stanza:

You bite your wallet and bend over for rectal intrusion,
by the tower of Babylon that you made,
and the ones who stand in line,
are the guardians you paid.

Zahjin - Metal Soliloquy

Surprised that Christians use such imagery? Well, I recommend checking out the Bible, because this is the imagery God uses, too. He does not care about politeness when it comes to sin. He hates it with every fibre of his being. That’s why this kind of music and this kind of language is something we need more of in the “Christian scene”. Less contemporary half-heartedness and more uncompromising conviction.

To conclude this review, i can only say this: If you like black metal, I am almost 100 percent sure that you will enjoy this album. It embodies everything that originally defined this genre – it is radical, dark, aggressive, uncompromising, both musically and lyrically, and it radiates an atmosphere of fierceness and non-conformity. Check it out and let the fiery flood wash over your soul.


Stridslysten was released April 12th via Nordic Mission Rottweiler Records and can be purchased at Bandcamp and Nordic Mission.

Follow Skald in Veum on Facebook.

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Album Review: Starcaller – Perdition

Starcaller - Perdition - Metal Soliloquy

Starcaller is a three-piece death metal band from Mobile, Alabama. That was a quite surprising information to me because the music sounds and feels much more “Northern” than Alabama. Playing a melancholic and at times quite doomy blend of blackened melodic death metal, I would have expected this band to be from Scandinavia or Canada, but limiting genres to certain countries and vice versa is a stupid thing anyways.

That being said, lets get to the album itself. Perdition is the band’s full length debut, and a good one at that. With a playing time of 38 minutes, spanning over 8 tracks, the album has a very nice length. It is long enough for the band to let their ideas and visions unravel and work on the listener and it is short enough to at no point get boring or uninteresting. According to the band, the album is meant to take the listener on a journey through “tormented minds and cursed fates”, a journey from this realm into another, “capturing the dissonance of a soul placed in the wrong reality”. As interesting as this concept is, I am going to be honest with you and say straight out of the gate that I did not pay a lot of attention to the lyrics at all. Not that I am not interested, it’s just that I focused my attention on the music itself, which is what I do most of the time.

Starcaller - Metal Soliloquy

And in regards to the music, I can confidently say that Starcaller succeed in creating a more or less picture perfect melodic death metal album that will please every fan of the genre. The aforementioned black metal elements are not very prominent throughout the whole album, but there are some moments when they really shine and add a lot of character to the archetypical melo-death tropes. Two tracks where the black metal influence are more in the foreground are “Hungering Runes” and “Beyond the Blood and Ash”, two of my favourite tracks on the records.

 

There is nothing about this album that I really dislike: The music is very well-mixed, allowing every single instrument to shine. I especially love how thick and prominent the bass is in the mix and how it harmonizes with the drums. It gives a doomy vibe to the music and compliments the melodic guitar riffs and the fantastic harsh vocals perfectly. The songs are well-written, with most tracks staying below the five-minute mark, making for a well-paced and entertaining listen. The melodies are beautiful and “catchy” throughout the record. And despite being a little generic in its overall musical style, the melancholic atmosphere and the black metal elements are two things that make Starcaller stand out from their peers.

Now that I think about it, the only thing I’d criticize about Perdition is that it could do with even a little more of that certain “something”. You can already see a lot of identity in these songs, but the band clearly has the potential to get even more interesting and stylistically unique on future releases. I am definitely looking forward to it, because this album is a mighty fine debut.


Perdition was released on March 8th and is available at Bandcamp.

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