How do you justify an introduction to a band that has been brewing ferocious black metal since 1998? Skald, as a previous Avatar of Skald in Veum, has remained underground for as long as 15 years. Although there wasn’t much offered during those years, the band kept its energy intact as they emerged back in the Swedish scene again in 2013. Changing their name to add a reference to a Holy place, the band sets out with a mission, “a violent and visceral baptism by way of complete immersion in brutalising black metal”
Having signed up with Rottweiler Record and Nordic Mission, the band released its second album, Stridslysten, on the 12th of April 2019. What stands amazing is that, they released their second album exactly 1260 days after the release of their first album titled 1260 days. Too much of a coincidence? Does Stridslysten have something encrypted in its name too? I want to find out.
This album has one of the most brutal intro to any song that I’ve heard in a while. Self-titled “Stridslysten” starts with a bang of what sounds like a sword being pulled from its sheath. The maddening blast beats coupled with the scathing screams and a blitzing guitar riff lowers the temperature of your surroundings and sets in motion the beginning of an Epic Blackened album. “As Wolves Among Sheep “ rides on marching drums before setting itself on bombastic blast beats as it evolves bar by bar into something heavier than before. A sharp and noticeable interlude keeps things real, the guitar chugs will make you want to move around and break things with your head, and will definitely give you chills.
“En lyra döpt i blod” punches with heavy guitar chugs and is married with lightning fast blast beats, forcing its way to every nook and corner it finds of your head. The song keeps the headbanger in you engaged while maintaining its momentum and tying all pieces of the song together. DO NOT Miss the magic at 03.07 . “Do What Thou Wilt” sounds cold and eerie, for its well-paced guitar chugs and a guttural scalding scream, surprisingly takes on a different path, maybe punkish, during the middle of the song, and jumps right back to what it started with. I loved the way this song was composed and written, as it leaves one guessing with what could happen next.
“Goatwhore” reminded me of Rob Zombies’ Dragula, in a good way. Listening to this song at number 5 gives tremendous insight into the making of this album. All the songs are well thought off and stand individual to the others, giving a lot of character and depth to the album. “Shards of the Infernal Fall” pounces with a heavy and meaty riff capable of swinging you off your feet. The song is one of the extreme tracks of this album, and is as much original as its counterparts.
“Tvinsot (Siaren II)” has a dramatic start and neck breaking tendencies. The guitarist show their technical prowess umpteen number of times and play to the dot! Something I envy and desire to play like. The song gets an amazing power towards the end while the vocalist and the drummer battle it out in what sounds like a duel. “Whoremaster” ends this epic album, no doubt with a bang. Magic Starts at 01.25 . At first I thought it couldn’t get any heavier, but boy was I wrong. The Skald kept the heaviest piece for the end. The tremendous riffing speed on this album gets me hooked and craving for more.
Production : The production on this album is mature and the song writing powerful. The vocals are there to scare you, the guitars to keep you engaged and the drums to pulverize your mind. The only reason I deduct Half a point is because of no presence of any bass.
Conclusion : Although I’ve never been a hardcore fan of Black metal, but with this album I feel an inclination towards the genre. This album is full of surprises and remains as original as it gets, definitely one of the best albums of the year. On that note, I know I’m a full album late, but this record is not for the fainthearted. You will not survive, but on a separate note, If you can gather courage, I recommend you spin this record straightaway. Go Buy!!
Written by: Ankit Sood
2. As Wolves Among Sheep
3. En Lyra Döpt i Blod
4. Do What Thou Wilt
6. Shards Of The Infernal Fall
7. Tvinsot (Siaren II)
Release Date: April 12th. 2019
Record Label: Rottweiller Records / Nordic Mission
Mund – Vocals
Resh – Guitars, drums
Zhajiin – Guitars, bassguitars
Heth – Spiritual leader and ideologist
Lyric video for ‘As Wolves Among Sheep’