Svartsyn – Black Testament

svartsynI’ve always prided myself in at least trying to keep up with the death and black metal worlds over the years, but Sweden’s Svartsyn have reminded me that such an endeavor is near impossible with so many bands rising from the copiously blasphemous aether every day. Black Testament is album #7 (!!) for the sole visionary of this project Ornias, so Svartsyn is by no means a new band, but it one that has somehow evaded my radar since its inception in 1993.
With no real point of reference to influence my opinion, Black Testament stands on it’s own for judgement. Murky and wandering black metal with a pension for an uneasy dissonance swirling in the background quite nicely sums up the bulk of this material, with the disembodied screams of Ornias lurking between dimensions like a specter lost in time. The one thing that stands out for me on tracks like Venom of the Mind, is just how odd the songwriting is. The foundation appears to be disjointed, which in turn makes the tremolo picked harmonies boiling to the foreground sound sickly, or even “wrong” in the way they churn and augment/pervert melody into something far more dead in the dark. Odd note choices. Choppy riff time signatures executed over the at times steady pulse of a drum machine? It’s quite difficult to put ones finger on the culprit. It really makes me wonder if these are simply mistakes masquerading as “songs”, nurtured and perpetuated into an albums worth of material to infect the masses, but as each track unfolds, I began to realize that this is actually intentional and just the bizarre style of the creator. Though I do appreciate such an awkward take on what can be a very tired/visionless genre, this doesn’t mean that Black Testament is an easy or instantly gratifying listen. I’m not even sure yet if I like it, or want to listen to it more than twice. One thing that is a constant in the world of Svartsyn, is the overall sound canvas Ornias has cloaked his musical mysteries within. Black Testament is definitely black metal, floating in a reverb drenched atmosphere that could have been otherworldly if it weren’t for the creeping dis-harmony and bold challenging of music as you have come to know it. For this deconstruction and blatant avoidance of the musical rules, I tip my hat in appreciation to Svartsyn. Too bad such a statement is hard to fully appreciate. -Marty
Agonia Records

~ by martyworm on April 10, 2013.

2 Responses to “Svartsyn – Black Testament”

  1. Yeah, not really getting the drum sound on this one…the mix is weird. Whatever. I noticed last night that with a few tiny changes a lot of these riffs would be Immortal’s. 🙂 Still, this is an enjoyable album IMO. Some real darkness to be found?

  2. I listened to this a bit earlier in the week. It didn’t strike me as anything fresh enough to warrant further listening. I moved on after the first song, but not sure..may try again. The Aosoth IV just blows this to the wind.

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