Svarttjern - Misanthropic Path of Madness
Schwarzdorn Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (31:40)
Release year: 2009
Official Facebook
Reviewed by Charles
As the gentle throb of the Tibetan singing bowl fades in, a single clarinet line dances around the early stages of a delicate summer raga. As a table emerges, you realise that it is locking into an odd meter; three bars of 13/16 followed by one of ¾ time. Strange, you think. An attempt at Hindustani classical music shouldn’t be accompanied by such fusion-inflected percussion. The merging of artistic cultures here is really quite remarkable and… I seem to have put the wrong album on.

There are very few surprises lying in wait in the splendidly named Misanthropic Path of Madness, the debut album from Norway’s Svarttjern. Featuring HansFryste, currently also vocalist with Ragnarok, this is highly competent, straightforward black metal, very much in the vein of that band’s last record, Blackdoor Miracle.

The sound is powerful and blasting; a familiar tremolo blizzard with a strong current of icy melody running through. The rhythm section is impressively and relentlessly pounding, and the facility with which the band flickers between warp-speed riff ideas is also worth hearing. There are flavours of Dissection here, as well, as with the title track which almost makes the transition into that bands concoction of ethereal and deathly riffing framed with blackened sensibility. Finally the World Shall Shape is another highlight, with a slower and grinding opening forming welcome break from the relentless speed, before a rhythmic maelstrom reemerges to bludgeoning effect.

So it’s good, but I have to say not really all that interesting. It’s a very capable retread of a record we’ve heard a million times before. To set yourself apart playing this type of music by now you probably need to generate an utterly unspeakable level of blasphemic brutality, which Svarttjern don’t quite do. The sound is certainly powerful, and no doubt would overwhelm the majority of contenders, but it’s not quite enough to make the band into anything really exciting.

This is a worthy record that ticks all the Norse black metal boxes without really doing more than that. They at no point go out of their comfort zone; you could probably, if you weren’t really concentrating, have the first track on repeat by accident and not notice. Anyway, if you are hungry for black metal’s red meat, this is a reliable place to get it.

Killing Songs :
Finally the World Shall Shape
Charles quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Svarttjern that we have reviewed:
Svarttjern - Shame Is Just a Word reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Svarttjern - Towards the Ultimate reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
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