Den Saakaldte – Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete (Agonia Records)

Thursday, 1st May 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

By now, it’s safe to say that we can depend on the Norwegian black metal scene to continually spawn hatred and cast glum shadows across the world.  We have 1349, Gorgoroth, Satyricon, Vreid, and many other warlike metal bands fit for the coldest-blooded Vikings to listen to, but let’s not forget about Den Saakaldte! In short, their design of music is best compared to cold, taciturn frost paranormally juxtaposed with blazing, raging fire. The moods? All the extremities of pessimistic depression, hostile hatred, and paranoid lunacy.

Where is Kapittel I? No matter. With an item like this, who needs a first chapter? Den Saakaldte’s forthcoming full-length album, Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete, can certainly be reckoned as their glorious premier release of the year, among the two splits released around it. The seven obscure hexes of this record are pleasantly sick. Some of these tracks are introduced by frosty winds, roaring rains, or misty ocean shores, but none are remotely sedative or consoling in serene nature-themes as they might seem to be within those first few seconds. Six seconds of frigidly whistling winds are all we need in “Forbanna Idioter” to slip into the void and into its darkness. Den Saakaldte don’t overuse synthesizers or sound effect machines, a mistake much too prevalent in metal these days. Synths and effects in Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete are minimally spared and solely used to set an atmosphere or mood, just as they should be, instead of cutting corners by filling in space that could be better utilized.

Musical themes and sounds normally rendered as wretched, dire, or vile are always the most alluring and satisfying to our plagued-by-metal souls. Den Saakaldte rank high in this gnarly black metal subdivision. Isolate the erratic forms of Eldur’s voice, from his gruesomely harsh vocals in “Du Selvproklamerte Misjonær” to the spoken-word tribalesque chants in “Djevelens Verk.” With that alone, you will hear Den Saakaldte possess exalted spirits (or demons) of black-to-the-bone metallers. It seems they have sharpened and polished their horns, because Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete may just be their best work yet.

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