Koldbrann – Vertigo (Season of Mist/Underground Activists)

Sunday, 21st April 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

A lot of angle-less black metal has been parading around lately, hasn’t it? Maybe it’s because of the voluntary faceless nature of Cascadian BM, or the noticeable lack of anything exciting happening outside of the United Kingdom…we’re not quite sure. Regardless of the view one takes, there’s nothing worth getting utterly frazzled or worked-up about, perhaps giving credence that black metal’s shock appeal is now a thing of the dinosaurs. Norway’s Koldbrann don’t have much of a “wow” factor to be frank, but on their third album Vertigo, they make up for it with songs that are on a Satryricon-like swivel.

Simply by throwing Satyricon’s name into the gauntlet means there’s going to be some sort of rock influence going down, and there is on Vertigo. The album mostly avoids symphonic trappings, oftentimes running for the hills with mashable chords and extremity bursts that place them in the crosshairs of post-third wave black metal. The slow crawl of “Dranmen” is a Norwegian mid-tempo romper, while the punk-on-black thrust of “Stolichnaya Smert,” is probably a song the band will pimp in the live settings. It’s feral, and dripping with husky vocal chants that are sure to raise a few flashy leather wristbands.

Vertigo ultimately crescendos on “Goat Head,” a song title that if no on were paying attention to, would figure into the Impaled Nazarene tradition of having at least one song with “goat” in the title. No matter, for Koldbrann’s brazenly fierce, yet totally identifiable brand of Norwegian black metal serves neither to offend or blow the doors off one’s house. It’s the original recipe, only without the great first taste.


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