Svarti Loghin - Drifting Through The Void
Black Metal-tinged Post-Rock
8 songs (47:15)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Goat

It would be easy for intelligent music fans to become exasperated with the direction in which some experimental Black Metal bands are moving. Accepting the genre’s wonderful malleability as a given, you’d expect the stars to be the limit, and indeed past albums from the likes of Arcturus and Solefald have duly aimed themselves high, and been rewarded with the love and attention of many open-minded Metalheads. Yet what to make of the increasing turn to Post-Rock pastures? Some, such as England’s Caïna, are capable enough to make the results interesting hybrids in and of themselves, but here Sweden’s Svarti Loghin have come damn close to stepping away from Black Metal altogether, and they risk becoming just another Post-Rock band that have missed their time in the sun.

Post-Rock has, after all, been a bit of a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon, and even if many were amazed at the beautiful sounds created by the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor at first, by the time you’ve heard the many, many imitators all playing the same style it’s hard to stay enthusiastic. It’s like Metalcore in that way; the sudden overwhelming influx of bands was met with initial cautious acceptance by Metalheads who saw Lamb Of God, say, as a modern, youth-oriented versions of The Haunted, but we soon grew sick of being sold the latest breakdown-heavy clone, that looked different but sounded exactly the same.

Not all Post-Rock sounds the same, true, but if you follow the genre at all it’s a fair bet that you’ll find Drifting Through The Void somewhat familiar. Aside from an overly-energetic drummer, who bashes drums when he should tap them, and a vocalist who screeches just enough to remind you that the band took its name from an Arckanum song, the music is melodic, up-beat and almost cheerful Post-Rock. And, being fair, if you’ve only just discovered the likes of the recently-acclaimed Alcest and are looking around in wonder for more, there’s a lot here to love. The murky production gives the music a charming quality, an organic and oddly rustic atmosphere swirling around the listener and allowing you to just space out and, well, drift through the void.

There’s not a great deal of difference between tracks, Kosmik Tomhet and Odelagd Framtid pounding along merrily side-by-side and the title track touching on almost Alt Rock territory with catchy, country-tinged vocals. Lush soundscapes rise and fall, the music rarely allowing time to stand and watch but driving ever onwards, there’s even a little harmonica here and there. Svarti Loghin are really trying to experiment with their sound and they succeed, it has to be said – Drifting Through The Void is a very good album. It’ll take another before they really come to their full powers, however, and start writing songs that stick in the head as well as the heart, tapping the epic majesty which is hinted at here and there - the ambient Nightsky Interlude would have worked better as an intro, for example, and Bury My Heart In These Starlit Waters has an understated elegance to it which makes it flow well despite seeming rather repetitive and meandering.

The album finishes with Planet Caravan, a Black Sabbath cover which tries to match the eerie calmness of the original but overdoes the emotional vocals a little – hey, but the guy can sing! – and the rather peeved Stargazer, which may or may not be a cryptically obtuse Rainbow cover (probably not) but which ends things well and leaves you satisfied. I’d be lying if I said I hated Drifting Through The Void, or if I loved it – I can’t see many people feeling either extreme. It’s fair to say, however, that it will be enjoyed whoever hears it, and that the band have won me over despite my initial genre-based misgivings speaks much for them.

Killing Songs :
Kosmik Tomhet, Drifting Through The Void, Bury My Heart In These Starlit Waters
Goat quoted 78 / 100
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