Svartidauði - Revelations Of The Red Sword review

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Band: Svartidauði
Album: Revelations Of The Red Sword
Release date: December 2018

01. Sol Ascending
02. Burning Worlds Of Excrement
03. The Howling Cynocephali
04. Wolves Of A Red Sun
05. Reveries Of Conflagration
06. Aureum Lux

Icelandic black metal has been all the rage in the past few years, mostly thanks to their previous record, but releasing a follow-up to such an important album after six years will certainly bring high expectations.

Obviously there was black metal in Iceland before Flesh Cathedral; even if most of Svartidauði's contemporaries hadn't yet released full-lengths, some of them still had some EPs and demos, and there were also Sólstafir and Potentiam and Myrk and Curse from a much earlier generation. Even Svartidauði's generation had Árstíðir Lífsins, who had released full-lengths before that. But once the dissonant Deathspell Omega-inspired Flesh Cathedral hit the markets, the floodgates were opened. Soon, everyone had their heads turned to the incestuous scene of Wormlust, Carpe Noctem, Misþyrming, Sinmara, and Naðra, all of which had their own brand of very dissonant and cold black metal. And while Svartidauði haven't exactly left complete silence after their debut, as there have a few EPs since, now comes their true follow-up.

As opposed to the massive songs of Flesh Cathedral, songs here are a bit more straightforward as a consequence of there not being just four tracks over ten minutes; instead, the 45-minute run time is quite evenly spread across six tracks, with the two shortest around 5 minutes and with one nearing the 12-minute mark. This does bring some changes in sound, with there being more of a melodic edge to the songs without sacrificing the vile and dissonant chaos that is Svartidauði's music, one that has never been overwhelmingly chaotic or ugly. The more straightforward nature isn't really as obvious on the two longer tracks that have been crammed at the end, where the changes in mood and pace really don't feel simplified at all.

Now a trio, Svartidauði had to do more with less, and while the riffs and the vocals are certainly highlights of their own, it's undeniable that the show-stealer of the album is drummer Magnús Skúlason, who often seems almost to disregard the direction of the guitars, creating a chaotic, syncopated feel throughout the album. That is not to say that he does all of the work, as the guitar riffs jangle between more melodic but equally labyrinthine riffs and full-on dissonant attacks a la Gorguts. The one member who suffers the least amount of change from the previous record is bassist and vocalist Sturla Viðar Jakobsson, whose bass can still be felt through moments like the latter part of "Aureum Lux", but which is otherwise very rarely taking center stage. And while his vocals are certainly viciously raspy, Revelations Of The Red Sword still feels like an album where the instrumentals are given more emphasis.

It's unlikely that Revelations Of The Red Sword will have a legacy as strong as that of its predecessor, but it finds Svartidauði trying to explore new grounds and evolve their sound rather than recreate their highest moment of glory, with something lightly less esoteric and more melodic but still extremely chaotic and dynamic.


Written on 09.01.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 69 users
09.01.2019 - 18:34
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Nice list of bands
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

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09.01.2019 - 22:13
That's actually a pretty spot on review as you wrote down several of the points i noticed upon the first few listens, so i agree completely with this. To me their debut was a slightly less entropic version of Deathspell Omega (which is a band i absolutely love, so you can imagine i also liked Flesh Cathedral). As you mentioned, this expands on that with a somewhat more melodic approach which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Had this record on repeat for like 2 weeks straight. A definite thumbs up from me and i hope we won't have to wait another 6 years for their next one.
Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
09.01.2019 - 22:20
I like this a lot more than the debut because it's more melodic and doesn't sound like a DSO rip-off.

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