Svarti Loghin – Empty World

01/03/2009 § Leave a comment

Artist: Svarti Loghin
Title: Empty World
Label: ATMF
Genre: Depressive Black Metal

Track Listing:

01 Karg Nordisk Vinter
02 Inner Desolation
03 Empty World
04 The Silence Always Returns
05 Cold Void
06 Outro

Let no-one say that black metal doesn’t at least attempt originality. A lot of the atmospheric and depressive black metal that gets churned out of Sweden and Norway does end up sounding excruciatingly similar, but though Svarti Loghin shamelessly occupy the territory of Burzum worship, they do it with a small sliver of individuality. The band haven’t been together long, with only one rehearsal demo tape up their sleeve from 2007, and 2008 sees them starting their discography with Empty World, a generally innocuous piece of black metal with some sprinkling of character which keeps its head above water. Empty World doesn’t prove so much that depressive black metal isn’t dead, but rather undead, drifting through the musical mists of metal history with little aim or trajectory. In fact, sometimes it’s hard not a believe that a genre is kept afloat by purely its name alone.

No black metal album cover would be complete with some pictures of foliage, and Empty World doesn’t disappoint in this category. By now my CD collection must be looking more verdant than an almanac from the Horticultural Society and I’m sure the Chelsea Flower Show would be interested in one or two of the specimens found on the latest Drudkh and Xasthur. If I were wondering through the forests of Sweden maybe this would he kind of music that would be playing in my head but that’s the only setting that justifies its moroseness. According to the press release, the band are to become the point of reference for Swedish Depressive Black metal, so we can all look forward to more of the same from, well, more of the same.

It would be unfair to say that Empty World isn’t atmospheric. It has the ability to whisk you away to somewhere barren and hopeless, and its songs have soupçons of variety that make the band stand out from some other genremates. “Karg Nordisk Vinter” [a song about Winter, did you guess?] and “Inner Desolation” are pleasing enough with their accessible riffs, distant screams and lonely clean guitar passages, and the title track has a number of upbeat and even happy sections – unusual indeed for ‘depressive’ black metal.. The musicianship is of a relatively high standard too: all guitars and drums and played with aplomb, and the sound production is clear but still imbued with a sense of distance that often befits the black metal genre.

Though Svarti Loghin attempt to do something ever so slightly different with depressive black metal, Empty World still panders to the genre by trying to trounce it, and there’s little that’s guaranteed to produce emotion so much as a band which are forcing it. Empty World has the crushing emptiness and aura that so many black metallers will enjoy, but its an endurance for anyone who likes their music to have the slightest iota of soul. I’d like to think that future releases will show some departure from an already warn and overused template, but there’s too much root worship here for such potential.

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