Den Saakaldte - All Hail Pessimism
Avantgarde Music
Black Metal
10 songs (1:08:17)
Release year: 2009
Den Saakaldte , Avantgarde Music
Reviewed by Goat

One rather nice piano introduction later, the second album from Norwegian Black Metal supergroup Den Saakaldte (named after a track from Written In Waters, that classic album by Ved Buens Ende) kicks into a pleasingly melodic set of Black Metal anthems that are much more dignified than you might expect from a scene where seemingly everyone is rocking out. Although there are little touches of the experimental, the piano in the awesome La Vinteren Vare Evig just one example, all in all this is a stately example of how to make Black Metal with emotion without sounding like a Xasthur clone. Many make that mistake, of going too far into the Ambient realm, and although Den Saakaldte aren’t afraid to take you there, it’s an aerial view rather than an in-depth journey - think a slower early Enslaved. Most tracks are of epic length, and fortunately manage to provide enough of an epic atmosphere to make it worth listening to, although there’s nothing Emperor-like. By the time the tinny synth-trumpets in Satans Synder come around, you’ll be engrossed enough for the cheesiness not to matter.

You can blame Den Saakaldte’s high level of quality on the members living up to the aforementioned ‘supergroup’ tag. Rather than being some ‘fun’ project it’s easy to get the impression that this is a serious musical expression. The often rather freaky vocals are performed by the one and only Niklas Kvarforth, of Shining fame, whilst Sykelig of Naer Mataron provides guitars. Seidemann of 1349 and Pantheon I performs the bass, whilst Jormundgand (Dødheimsgard) and Uruz (Vulture Lord, In Lingua Mortua) provide synths and drums respectively. All Hail Pessimism sweats quality from every pore, and whilst there’s plenty of Black Metal pureness going on, there are steps away from the source, too. Samma Krot, Samma Korn starts out with an awesome Celtic Frost tribute, and goes on to include some rather well-placed female vocals. My favourite moment is probably the gorgeous Jazz trumpet at the start of Drikke Ens Skål, although it’s the sort of album that touches people individually and uniquely so your highlights are your own.

What All Hail Pessimism definitely is, is an album that takes time to absorb. First listens don’t do much to draw you in unless you’re willing to really sit and soak it up, and even several listens later I’m still discovering buried melodies and riffs that I didn’t hear at first. Heck, the sheer range of Blackened styles subtly explored here is tremendous, Mesias even has touches of latter-day Dødheimsgard in the riffing. You won’t be bowled over by this album; it isn’t the next step in Black Metal’s evolution or anything, but it is a very good release that will intrigue all sorts of kvlt people.

Killing Songs :
La Vinteren Vare Evig, Satans Synder, Samma Krot, Samma Korn, Drikke Ens Skål
Goat quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Den Saakaldte that we have reviewed:
Den Saakaldte - Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
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