Svartsyn - Destruction of Man - 2003 - Sound Riot Records
1. Archdemon of Binah 2. Children of Plague 3. Demons Walking On Earth 4. Towards Chaos 5. Devil's Image 6. Enemies From Beyond 7. Destruction of Man
Svartsyn are a name you probably haven’t heard. They’re not a new band – far from it in fact, having formed in 1991. For a band with such longivity, it’s a little surprising that they haven’t gotten a tad more exposure at this point in their careers. Of course, most of this is probably their own doing – right now they are seen as a very kvlt band in the black metal underground. They released “Destruction of Man” in 2003, but for some reason Sound Riot is doing some promotion for it about two years later – but this is no matter. Instead, the task at hand is to delve into this raw, dark album from Sweden.
The Svartsyn duo consists of mastermind Ornias (vocals, guitars, bass), former Dark Funeral drummer Draugen. Together they manage to create an album that is very much in touch with its old school roots. So in touch, in fact, that it sounds like it was made about ten years earlier than the release date – and this is taking into account the production quality, riffing, and vocals. The only thing that may be characteristic of a “newer” sound is the use of atmospheric keyboard effects in a few places, like during the intro to “Archdemon of Binah” and at the end of “Towards Change.” But in reality, even these fragments sound very primitive and unrefined. That being said, they do complement and contrast the usual harsh banter coming from Ornias’ mouth and guitar quite nicely.
After listening to this album a few times, I feel like I’ve sort of completed a journey. The mood is consistently dark and grim throughout – but with some small and subtle changes (often ushered in by those atmospheric keyboard sections I spoke of earlier). These changes really give “Destruction of Man” an additional interesting aspect that is uncommon to many black metal albums such as this. I’m acutely reminded of the early Satyricon effort “Dark Medieval Times,” which conveys a similar mood and feeling. In fact, if there’s any band these guys most closely resemble it’s Satyricon, right down to the two-member-only rule. Not a real rule of course, I refer to the common scenario where the only two permanent members of a black metal band are the drummer and the main man who does everything else.
When all is said and done, “Destruction of Man” is an above-average release in an often maligned field. Sure, there are moments when it sounds boring and recycled, but others where it throws you a bit of a curve and really makes you think. Any “tr00” black metal fan reading this will 1) be slightly annoyed with me and 2) want to pick this up – but I’d have a hard time seeing anyone who mainly likes music outside of this genre enjoying this mixed bag of an album.
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