posted on 3/2007 By:
Tasmanian one-man act Striborg play a bleak, suicidal form of black metal that seems to be quite the rage these days (relatively speaking of course). The first seven songs on this album constitute the Nefaria portion of the disc and are all new recordings, while tracks 8-16 are from the outfit’s 1995 demo called, you guessed it, Tragic Journey Towards The Light. I have to say, I find the practice of extending an album’s length by adding old demo material to be devious and lazy, especially as the material of said demo has already been released two or three times in other media. However, I’m not here to review the manner in which the music is released, I’m here to review the music itself, and I have to say I am under whelmed at best.
While mainmain Sinn Nanna has a few worthwhile songwriting ideas up his sleeve, the material here falls into the “been there, done that” rut about as soon as the first couple of tracks pass by. The biggest problem plaguing the Nefaria material is simply a lack of innovation. Its not that the music is necessarily that bad, especially for fans of this type of black metal; there are some pretty enjoyable moments on this disc, especially album highlight “Garmonbozia” and the lengthy “Bleeding Black Tears of Hate.” But in a time when one-man BM acts are a dime a dozen, bands need to do more to set themselves apart from the pack than what Striborg does here.
Like most of these modern day solo acts, Burzum is a huge influence, from the repetitive, hypnotizing song structures to the intended lonely, sad atmosphere. Also in keeping with the Vikernes tradition, a good portion of this album is pure ambient music or something similar to it, but these compositions lack the depth and emotion of the better ambient pieces of the aforementioned Burzum and instead sound amateurish and poorly written. The vocals are extremely distorted and don’t really add anything to the tone of the music, and while I’m glad that Sinn Nanna chose to teach himself some basic drumming techniques as opposed to resorting to a drum machine, his playing is sloppy to the point of being distracting when he tries anything beyond the most rudimentary beats or fills. Everything is just very, very average all around; this might have made some waves ten years ago, but in today’s scene, I just can’t treat Nefaria as anything close to a big deal. As for the Tragic Journey Towards The Light demo, which accounts for more than half of the album’s length, I can safely say that it is one of the most laughable excuses for black metal I’ve ever heard, and I‘ve heard some pretty bad shit. Listen for a good chuckle, then disregard. That’s all I’ll say on that.
There really isn’t anything here that you haven’t heard better examples of numerous times before, and while a lack of originality is more permissible in black metal than other genres of metal if the feeling and atmosphere is there, the redundant nature of the songwriting keeps me from focusing on Striborg’s music and instead makes me think of all the bands that Striborg is attempting to emulate. I suppose those of you who have to scoop up every new black metal release will find something of worth here. For the rest of you, save your cash for the upcoming Leviathan full length, Massive Conspiracy Against All Life.
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Embittered Darkness / Isles de Morts