Release DetailsLABEL Moribund Records
RELEASED ON 11/4/2004
Weathering the Curse
posted on 12/2004 By:
Remind me never to relocate to San Francisco. An area I normally associated with gay pride, effeminate quarterbacks and temperate weather, is somehow responsible for the lamenting Weakling, the artfully suicidal Leviathan , Crebain and now Draugar, all the very epitomes of horrific, subconsciously disturbing and chaotically hypnotic black metal. There must be some sort of Lovecraftian, otherworldly dimension gate located in the area that promulgates all this vile music.
Label mate Leviathan is the obvious comparison for Draugar’s second album, and Draugar also is a one band group comprised of a gentleman by the name of Hildolf. Hideously raw, yet sublimely and psychotically artistic, Draugar share the same expansive, hollow sound as Leviathan as well as similar song structures that delve into the realms of the barren and depressive depths of abyssal hate. The crippling, emotion draining ambience of the album lies in its divergent moments of haunting, barren soundscapes laced with Hildolf’s suitably agonized cries, and the contrasting expulsions of grim, static, Northern staccato whirlwinds that tread the usual primal footsteps of Burzum and Darkthrone. The feedback drenched material, isn’t quite as disturbing and nightmarish as Leviathan, as it offers slight rays of melodic hope within its bitter creases in the form of clean passages and haunting acoustics/synths that lurk, pulsing under the grave exterior (notably during “I Come as a Curse” and “Wage a Final Battle”). Lengthy songs enforce the Leviathan comparison further, and I hate to beat a dead horse but it’s a concrete fact, but whereas Leviathan is a twisted, clammy trip into uncomfortable subconscious extremes, Draugar is a more concrete, contorted delivery that’s more immediate, it brought to mind the foul torture pits of Utumno.
Hildolf is equally as talented as Wrest, though possibly not as mentally unhinged, but he still displays a knack for mixing the horrific with the lucid, even if the overall delivery is slightly more ‘traditional’ than Wrest (“Trails Of Blood That Lead To Dark Corners”). Still, the surreal malevolence is present in the form of squealing distortion and orc-ish screams that convey hypnotically violent visages of earth based terror. The opening tones of “10 Fold/Tortured Old Soul” and “Laughing and Bleeding” and their eventual descent into abstract chaos are prime example of Hildolf capabilities to take recognized black metal elements and give them an undulating, slimey sheen that’s hard to ignore.
Not quite as psychologically rending as Leviathan, but close, Draugar and their Californian companions are the poisoned tipped spear of US black metal plunged deep into the lungs of watered down Dimmu Borgir clones and polished commercial black metal, leaving them gurgling and frothing as they choke on their own cash tainted blood.
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