Svartkonst is the one man blackened death metal project that seemed to come out of nowhere (well, Härnösand – so I’m basically correct, you who have been there know) in 2018 with the critically acclaimed debut album “Devil’s Blood”. With full force this absolute beast came bursting out and took the Swedish underground by storm, making its way to quite a few “album of the year” lists (mine as well, for example). Now the time has come for the much anticipated follow up record “Black Waves”.
The album kicks off strong instantly with a real groovy banger called “Death Magic”. This is probably the song that is the most classical old school death metal and also one of the more straight forward hit songs. A real HM-2 filled riff fest! After that, we get a taste of the more black metal sounding Svartkonst, with the Watain-esque track “I Am The Void”. The next song, “World Ablaze”, follows the same kind of style with a very polished and well produced – yet evil – black metal, with a bit more modern and clean sound than some of the more gnarly recordings of the early 90’s. Besides the forementioned Watain, this should be familiar to – and attract – fans of bands like Valkyrja, Mephorash and Mgla to name a few. Then we move on to a slower song, namely the omnious “Stray In The Dark”. This composition is more on the heavy side and a real crushing track.
There are a lot of ridiculously good songs on this album and picking a favourite is very hard, but I think the next track, “Mountains Of Flesh”, is my personal choice. This masterpiece then takes us to the straight forward “Ruins Of Splendour” before this amazing album is finished with the epic title track, clocking in at over 10 minutes long. Except this closing track, the rest of the record is pretty straight forward and no nonsense though.
I was very impressed with Svartkonst first album and I must say I am even more impressed with “Black Waves”. Except the fact that the man himself is an absolute genius who not only plays every instrument and sings, but also does all the engeneering stuff as well, the music is pure world class. The song writing has evolved since the last record and even if that was really good on “Devil’s Blood” as well, it has moved up a level on this one.
Overall, Svartkonst music consisting of mixing “Lawless Darkness” era Watain black metal with groovy Stockholm style death metal, should be a recipe for success since this is two things a lot of people really like. Me personally, I love this combo and find it as delicious as combining two tasty dishes into a superfood, like pizza and kebab creating the almighty kebab pizza. This is truly the musical equivalent to a kebab pizza with extra everything; tasty riffs, sinster melodies, catchy songs, lots of groove and an impressively professional production all around.
The hype surrounding Svartkonst will definitely not cool down after this release and I wouldn’t be surprised if this bad boy gets some nominations for awards, if the right people get to hear this.
For my part, I feel quite sure of “Black Waves” competing for the top spot when it comes to album of the year, but of course it’s still quite early in on 2020. However, other bands will have to do one hell of a job to push this monster away from the throne.
Title: Black Waves
Label: Trust No One Recordings
Date of release: 3/4-20
Stand out track: Mountains Of Flesh