Release DetailsLABEL Sound Riot Records
RELEASED ON 6/13/2003
Destruction of Man
posted on 4/2004 By:
Svartsyn invokes cursed black metal. No, seriously. It's true. They invoke cursed black metal. I'm not fucking around - they do it. At least that's what their bio says, and anyone who knows me knows that I'm not the type to distrust a bio.
Occasionally, I'm surprised by an release. Not blown away, but surprised. Admittedly I'm not the biggest fan of true black metal, but I know quality when I hear it. Featuring former Triumphator members Ornias and Draugen (also Dark Funeral's former drummer) Svartsyn take the classic black metal best exemplified by Darkthrone and pervert it by adding in an acceptable amount of melody you'd expect out of a Swedish act. What surprises me is how well this simple modification turns out.
Beginning with one of the more disturbing introductions, the first track "Archbishop of Binah" immediately sets the tone for the entire album. Cold, atmospheric, and extremely tight, Destruction of Man pays tribute to the purer forms of black metal, however, doesn't deviate too far from the original ideologies. With tortured rasps that are mixed lower into the music and fuzzy staccato picking saturating the entire release, the music ominously drones on in almost a hypnotic fashion. Svartsyn provides some variation by including a few hammer-ons and even a bit of seemingly-meticulously timed feedback. Whether intentional or not, it really gives the music more of a raw feeling. The barreling drums certainly provide an ample backbone to sustain the tempo-changes while the bass thumps away to create a full sound. At times I'm reminded of a slightly more melodic Setherial, and they do it all by invoking cursed black metal.
Black metal production is a difficult thing - something I've only recently understood. It's really important to capture the feeling of the music being played live while still retaining a moderate amount of clarity. One thing I feel that's really important about Destruction of Man is how it really walks that fine line that on one side is going to send true-black metallers into an angry tailspin, and on the other, will deter less experienced listeners from even giving it a chance. Technically, although the production is poor from an audio engineering standpoint, with the type of metal this is, this sound is entirely necessary to the music. There's enough raw density to appease the "true" fans, but the production also brings out the true sound of the instruments, pleasing the other end of the spectrum. Svartsyn knows where they belong and doesn't try to do anything stupid like incorporate industrial elements into their songs or clean-sung choruses.
This isn't the type of album that I'm going to go out and scream at everyone to get. A lot of people simply won't like it. Don't get mad when you stupidly realize that black metal doesn't sound like Opeth or the soundtrack to video footage of a garden of daisies. I'm not going to go as far as to say it's totally fucking brilliant, but it's definitely a fine album which accomplishes all it sets out to do. If you're a fan of the nordic stylings of black metal, you should definitely curl up with your family next to a warm fire, grab a few cups of hot cocoa, and give Destruction of Man a few spins.
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