Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Den Saakaldte - All Hail Pessimism

Ah, Norway…the home of my favorite kind of music, black metal. Not only is it the genre’s origin and homeland, it’s also where the most famous black metal bands come from. Now imagine this: Urgehal, Shining, Mayhem/Dimmu Borgir, and 1349 (all of which are big black metal names from Norway, except for Shining who’s from Sweden) mashed together into one monster black metal band. Not only just members from those bands collaborating in one band, but each of them bringing in chunks and sounds from their bands and COMBINING those sounds! I couldn’t ask for anything more other than having Malefic (aka Xasthur) in there somewhere. Den Saakaldte wouldn’t be something that I would recommend to those that are still new and/or unfamiliar with the black metal genre. But those of you that are familiar with black metal, YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS!!

Den Saakaldte means “The So-Called” in Norwegian (if someone knows how to pronounce this, PLEASE TELL ME!). Something that is very interesting to me is that there are members in this band that are from bigger-name bands that release albums with high-production quality. There are also members that play in the underground metal world with crappy recordings. I initially thought that the bigger members would insist that the album be in high-quality, but it’s not! Just the fact that I’m hearing famous black metal musicians in an extremely underground band makes me super excited. But unfortunately, there have been several side projects and collaborations that have failed miserably. Den Saakaldte is not a band you want to make that kind of assumption on.

The most unique thing about this group is that they have a trumpet player; yeah that’s right, a fucking trumpet player! Although the trumpet player isn’t any better than average, this is almost as surprising as hearing the banjos in the new Taake album. The best musician in this band is the drummer. The drummer expresses mind-blowing footwork and creates a colorful sound that flows perfectly with the rest of the music. Of course, since we have the Shining vocalist doing the vocals on this album, the vocals couldn’t POSSIBLY sound any more black metal. His vocals in this project tend to be more on the deeper side; even letting out some deep growls at certain points in the album. There isn’t anything specific about the guitarists that stick out to me; but they’re still amazing guitarists and are PERFECT for the band. The bassist (most well-known as being from 1349) plays his much recognized style that consists of harmonizing the root notes of the chords that the guitarists are playing.

The intro and interlude tracks are piano/keyboard tracks played by the keyboardist (I’m not captain obvious). I like how some of the tracks are 100% PURE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL, and that others are completely new. The second song on the album is one of the pure black metal ones. In this song, the drummer highlights his skills and creativity by taking the front of the line, right next to the vocals. There is something that I would change in any other situation EXCEPT for this one. Those of you that have been reading my reviews for a while now know that bass-filled kick drums make me happy. But in music (especially black metal) that has this much of a “raw” low-quality sound, the fact that the kick drums aren’t as profound actually make it much easier to enjoy.

My favorite song off this album is Samma Skrot, Samma Korn (whatever the hell THAT means). In this song, Den Saakaldte unveils something new; something that has more of a traditional metal feel with a thick black metal crust. I’m going to leave the rest for you to find out for yourself. All I can say is that this is an AMAZING album that I already own a physical copy of. I would give this 19/20. 

And in case you are interested, I made a fantastic Den Saakaldte wallpaper:
http://kangasphotoshop.weebly.com/uploads/6/9/1/8/6918701/1922437_orig.jpg