Srodek – Förfall (A Sad Sadness Song)

Thursday, 21st March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Right in the wheelhouse of classic Burzum (yes, please), Sweden’s Srodek offer up the usual one-man BM production tactics on Förfall , albeit with a much higher grade of success than its contemporaries. Having those mystical, floating melodies up front and center is probably the main reason why this charts so high, even though the bulk of the ideas presented seem to be ripped right out of Varg Vikerenes’s coffer.

The drum machine is in the house, as are the oft-employed subpar production techniques, meaning this sounds like it was recorded in a garage. Of course, all this does is add the pre-requisite foreboding atmosphere, something that is blatantly noticeable on lead track “Bleak.” Main (and lone) dude Nekrofucker (really?) makes some wise chord choices throughout, preferring to be pepper his compositions with soft, fluid melodies, and lots of delay. “Bleak” benefits most from this, drawing a direct line to Burzum’s vaunted early-90’s work.

On the title track, it’s more of the same atmospheric riffing, done without a sinister tone. The main riff is almost optimistic sounding, which in the realm of necro BM, is about as common as a pink t-shirt. Nevertheless, Mr. Nekrofucker (typing that is so lame) keeps his ideas in transit, opting to not run them into the ground, another happening on “Rotboskogens Djup” and the upbeat “Vågtjärns Svarta Vatten.”

The black metal scene has a way of finding bands like Srodek and nurturing them until they no longer see fit (read: Xasthur and Nachtmystium). Förfall is smothered in promise and has several striking, non-chaotic, but serene moments that literally carry this album to the brink of the “required listening” file for black metal. Beyond that, it easily out-duels the rash of one-man bands who have spent their entire careers aping Burzum. Srodek takes ‘em out in one album.

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