"Bloodline" (Sound Riot Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Svartsyn call Sweden home – something I missed the first time around. This is interesting because one normally associates the traditional black metal genre with Norway. However, I’m not going to let that little fact get in the way of my enjoyment of the re-release of a Svartsyn album.

I was fairly impressed with Svartsyn’s 2003 release “Destruction of Man” so I knew I’d be interested in hearing Svartsyn’s earlier work. This latest incarnation of Svartsyn’s early recording “Bloodline” is a re-release/reissue of Svartsyn’s 1997 and 1998 recordings as well as the “Tormentor” EP. With this re-release fans of Svartsyn and mid-paced black metal get the band’s satisfying take on the genre’s appealing approach. It helps that the traditional black metal style is more to my liking than any others in the genre. Svartsyn are true to the mid-paced style, but with an intensity and aggressive spirit that is not overdone. Svartsyn’s riffs are the highlight here, moving and shifting with the occasional abrupt departure for added texture.

While my appreciation for traditional and cult black metal may be underwhelming it is still certain in my mind that Svartsyn are one of the better bands in the genre.

“Bloodline” is for fans of Mayhem, Darkthrone, Carpathian Forest, and Satyricon.

“Bloodline” was produced by Svartsyn and J. Petterson. The production is phenomenal and could somewhat be attributed to the fact that Sunlight Studios was utilized for these recording sessions.

Svartsyn is Ornias on vocals and guitars, Kolgrim on bass, and Draugen on drums.

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"Destruction of Man" (Sound Riot Records; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Back in the late '90s when I started to review metal CDs in earnest, black metal was the genre that gave me the most trouble. I had difficulty slogging my way through original black metal bands like Venom and Darkthrone. Even the embryonic symphonic black metal style, rising to prominence at the time and a style which I now love, provided a host of challenges to my listening experiences.

However, I was not to be deterred and I became more familiar with the black metal genre through constant listening to the Blackened series of compilations. I guess you could say I taught myself to appreciate the genre as well as to pick out the finer points of the evolution of the genre as well. I even began to pick out certain black metal bands as favorites even after one listen to a CD - the prime example is Meggido's "The Devil And The Whore." A friend was kind enough to turn me onto this cult black metal band - his insistence has proven to be a boon to my understanding of cult black metal.

So it should come as no surprise that Svartsyn are underground, cult black metal and that I would appreciate if even only on a limited basis. In fact, I avoided reviewing this CD as I was in such a mood as to not want to hear black metal of any variety that I was even purposely not listening to my much beloved Dimmu Borgir CDs. However, listening to Svartsyn's "Destruction Of Man" gave me the same kind of feeling I get when listening to Meggido's "The Devil And The Whore." While Svartsyn do not break new ground in the black metal genre they do an impressive effort to succeed in the genre's limited boundaries.

Nearly every song has an interesting series of riffs that provide each song with its own inherent momentum. As a whole the album doesn't have much flow, but that isn't a big selling point in the black metal genre anyway. "Devil's Image" is the one track that really sticks out in my mind as it has a coherent approach that most black metal band's fail to reach and some mind-bending riffs that are not usually found in this particular style.

Fans of old Mayhem and old Marduk will appreciate Svartsyn's take on the cult black metal style.

"Destruction Of Man" was produced by Svartsyn. The production is quite good for a black metal CD and it's something that I appreciate even if stalwart fans of the genre will take issue with.

Svartsyn is Ornias on vocals, guitars, and bass, Kolgrim on keyboards, and Draugen (ex-Dark Funeral) on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:19 -0400.