Bizarrekult - Den Tapte Krigen review
|Album:||Den Tapte Krigen|
|Release date:||January 2023|
01. Du Lovet Meg
03. Den Tapte Krigen
04. Hvis Jeg Bare Kunne…
05. Midt I Stormen
06. Kjære Barn
08. Himmelen Er Utilgjengelig
The final weeks of an ending year and the first few weeks of the following one are usually fairly quiet on the release front; it gives music reviewers, professional and amateur alike, time to pontificate over their innumerable end-of-year lists and recharge for the following year. Yet, for the second year in a row, February’s barely started and I already feel like there’s more albums worth reviewing than time to review them in, including albums like Den Tapte Krigen.
Bizarrekult has technically been a thing since the mid-2000s, although after a couple of demos, there wasn’t much to be heard from them for a long time. Resurrected in the late 2010s, Ronan 'Bizarre' turned a one-man project into a team effort by bringing additional musicians into the fold, and since then, Bizarrekult has emerged, unrecognizable musically in comparison to those initial recordings, with now two full-length records. The latter of these, Den Tapte Krigen (translating to The Lost War), comes courtesy of Season Of Mist, so it’s not taken Bizarre long to attach this revitalized project to a label of considerable renown, and listening to Den Tapte Krigen, it’s easy to recognize what inspired Season Of Mist to hop on board this venture.
In the loosest sense, Den Tapte Krigen can arguably be placed under the post-black umbrella, but not in the ‘inherently post-metal but made like black metal’ way that the likes of Panzerfaust, Kevel and Decline Of The I have been doing so excellently in recent years. This is more the ‘it’s pretty blackened, but also not especially so, and it’s quite dynamic in unexpected ways’. Blackgaze is a pretty substantial component within the fabric of Den Tapte Krigen, but it’s by no means dominant, and there’s arguably as much of this album that owes influence to some DSBM acts. An album as subtly nebulous in terms of specific categorization as this is already off to a right start, and Bizarrekult do a solid job at taking the right things from the right styles and artists to produce something impressive of its own.
The range of Den Tapte Krigen is apparent fairly early on; as menacing and sinister as the black metal attack that opens “Du Lovet Meg” is, the gloomy female clean singing that immediately follows is equally mellow, which makes the blending of both elements together briefly as the song progresses striking. Those blackgaze influences emerge as the song works its way towards the conclusion, the clean singing taking centre stage as delicate tremolos dance around the evocative vocals. Bizarrekult are very capable at exploring the darker, harsher regions of black metal; although sticking resolutely to slower tempos, there is a malevolence brewing under the surface of the ominous crawl of “Kongen”, while “Løslatt” is the closest that Den Tapte Krigen gets to unadulterated black metal, from the frozen riffs to the outbursts of blast beats.
However, it’s arguably the more melancholic side of Bizarrekult that impresses most here. The first song on the record to really grab my attention was the title track, principally for its second half, whose sad tremolo melodies instinctively had me thinking of In Mourning. Another band that popped to mind while listening through the record was Agalloch, specifically in the track “Hvis Jeg Bare Kunne...” when the lead guitar melodies enter the fray in its midsection, a passage that feels like it could have slotted in nicely onto Marrow Of The Spirit. The song in general draws amply from blackgaze in both its intensity and its dreaminess, highlighting just how well the two extremes work alongside one another within the genre.
This isn’t a perfect record; as much as it doesn’t fall neatly into any one field (although I’ve seen enough reviews elsewhere use some kind of spin on ‘emotional Enslaved’ to make me wonder why a similar comparison did not come to my mind), there is a lot of the album in which one can recognize other artists, and those moments don’t necessarily rival the bands to which one’s mind is drawn. At the same time, there’s not a clear weak song here; even those with passages that threaten to lose my interest, such as “Midt I Stormen” and “Kjære Barn”, manage to pull something out of the bag to get me back on board. “Midt I Stormen” in particular rescues a fairly forgettable first couple of minutes with a delightful descent into melancholic introspection, from the funereal energy of the sedate guitar motif to the gently subdued vocals.
Den Tapte Krigen isn’t necessarily an album to blow you away, but it’s got plenty enough variety to keep oneself engaged and emotional weight to tap into one’s blackened heart. After a long time out in the cold, Bizarrekult 2.0 sound fresh, reinvigorated, and keen to make a notable impact on the black-adjacent scene.
||Written on 06.02.2023 by|
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