Slægt – The Wheel
Slægt is a strange band. They started of as a black metal band, but when I first heard and saw them a couple of years back I wrote them off as a well played, but rather boring, danish teen version of Tribulation. Nothing they’ve done since has convinced me otherwise, even the unique stage presence of Jonathan Hultén was copied. But then I saw them perform a concert in my hometown of Malmö earlier this year and I knew instantly that something had changed, the youngsters had started carving out their own mark on the metal genre and I really enjoyed the concert. I said already then that I was excited to hear how and if they’d manage to capture that on their coming album.
And now here we are; Slægt is releasing The Wheel and I get to review it. How do they manage to capture that essence of originality I saw gleaming on that cold March evening? About half and half I’d say, but allow me to elaborate. There’s definitely something good going on here, you get fresh and unexpected twists here and there and some of the songs really have something that could be called uniquely Slægt. There’s still an obvious influence from Tribulation that is more or less ever-present. Especially so in the less interesting, but still not too bad, tracks “Perfume and Steel” and “Citrinitas”. In “Gauntlet of Lovers” the style gets mixed with an Iron Maiden like melody interlude that breaks of the most obvious influence.
The remaining four of the album’s seven tracks are more interesting to me. The opening track, “Being Born (Is Going Blind)”, starts of with a total 90’s black metal fiesta that reminds me of Mörk Gryning and early Dark Funeral, as well as polish black metal heroes Mgła. The rest of the song is blackened heavy metal with a great drive and cool riffs throughout. The second song, “Masician”, starts as a Wishbone Ash song with an intricate guitar melody paired with some gloomy, doom-like chords that are like nectar to the ears. Both this and the more black metal-influenced “V.W.A.”, has cool rhythms, sharp riffing, nice hooks and great finger picking guitar parts that really makes you appreciate the handywork from the guitar duo of Asrok and Jørgensen.
The ending track, also the title track for the album, takes a different approach yet again and here the style is leaning more towards latter years Satyricon, but with more elaborate lead guitars. The beat is steady and the drumming is just as super tight as it needs to be when trying a concept like this. Slægt pulls it off and would make Satyr proud with the verses of this overall very nice closer. In conclusion I’d say that if you want something that sounds a bit like Tribulation, but think the original is a bit too soft and needs more riffing and black metal touches, then this album is for you. For me personally it’s definitely on the path to going somewhere unique, but they aren’t quite there yet.
Title: The Wheel
Label: Ván Records
Date of release: 2018-10-05
Stand out track: Being Born (Is Going Blind)