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While not quite as widely recognised as some of their black metal Satan-worshipping compatriots, such as say 1349, Norway’s Svarttjern have nevertheless made their presence felt with five albums released across the past 15 or so years. As uncompromising and vitriolic as any Scandi band you may choose to compare them with, Svarttjern maintain their inhospitable approach on their latest album Shame is Just a Word, released via Soulseller Records.
For those yet to cross battle-worn swords with this bunch, it’s worth pointing out that three of the five members remain active in Carpathian Forest while singer Hans Fyrste will be known to many through his time with Ragnarok.
Svarttjern set the stall out right from the start as they take the lid off to release the sonic stench of the pummelling “Prince of Disgust”. Rabid like a frothing hound, the tempo is ratcheted up and then remains fast throughout. Fyrste’s furball vocals leave you in no doubt that the hand of evil is at work here while the chugging riffs haul things under a weighty drum execution.
On “Frost Embalmed Abyss,” Fyrste flickers between gravelly growls and intermittent spoken words that are delivered in the cold manner of a possessed preacher. The guitars are frantic and yet undeniable melody is detected although you do have to dig deep to find it, as in the appropriately titled “Melodies of Lust,” which opens with an almost Metallica-like clean guitar.
Having started out as a project by Fyrste and his brother HaaN, the duo’s desire to play live saw a full line-up recruited soon enough, although this in turn has gone through the usual array of changes down the years. The current five-piece is completed by Gamie Erik (drums), Fjellnord (guitar) and Malphas (bass).
Shame is Just a Word builds on the good work set out on the band’s previous full length Dodskrik. The lyrical output is a mixture of the damned and depraved and a devil may care attitude sums them up on every level. Svartjjern have no interest in winning friends. They simply deliver the soundtrack that their collective being dictates. If they stumble across a riff such as on “Ravish Me” there’ll push it to the limits and they don’t care who they trample over in the process. This is an album you’ll certainly return to while the cover of the Exodus thrash anthem “Bonded by Blood” fits in like a glove!
You can order “Shame Is Just A Word” here – https://amzn.to/30MRwS0
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