Various - _Svartmetall Compilation 2001_
(NSP, 2001)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7.5 out of 10)
This disc has been around for quite a while now (just look at the title), and as a compilation of unsigned bands it may well be out of date by now. Nevertheless, it still serves as a great sample of the Norwegian black metal underground anno 2001. First band Alrune Mandragora presents a cold, mechanized black metal with subdued snarls and some keyboard passages; a decent opener for the compilation, even if not a very dynamic one. Antaios raises the aggression level a notch or three, with a fast, grimly melodic, somewhat Swedish-sounding style of black metal. Their slower sections are quite doomy and suddenly give way to blastbeats, and overall this track is intense, well written, well performed and definitely a highlight. The piano that opens Ravn's contribution to the compilation provides a sharp contrast to the preceding track, and proves to be the main component of their sound throughout the song. Add slow, monotonous drumming, an indistinct guitar buzz and screamed vocals layered over the piano line, and you've got Ravn: doomy, hypnotic, but lacking a bit in songwriting. Still, they do manage to set an interesting atmosphere. Mental Garrotter brings a more death-oriented style into the mix; the guitar work is interesting, and there is definitely some black metal present at times, but as a whole the band doesn't make much impact. Celebratum take things back firmly into the black metal world, with involved guitar work and some interesting dynamics -- again a bit Swedish to my ears. Aggressive and intense, and a highlight together with the aforementioned Antaios. Vesen open their track quietly and throw in the first clean vocals on the compilation, bringing a bit of a Viking feel to their music. The song is generally slow paced; the clean vocals are competent, and it's actually during the more aggressive sections that the band fails to offer anything interesting. The rather lo-fi Rovmord are next, with strangely loud, distorted spoken vocals; it may be an original approach, but not a very interesting one. Lunaris is a lot more standard, mid-paced, keyboard-enhanced black metal, and their track is neither bad nor anything out of the ordinary. They also include what sounds like some heavy metal influences, but it doesn't help their cause much. Endsum takes matters into a doomier realm of black metal, and do so without becoming monotonous -- they even include some rather fast bits for contrast, and the overall result is quite good. Next up is Landawarijaz, who throw in plenty of acoustics into their black metal. The effect is rather interesting, giving the band a more unique sound than most others on the comp, but it still requires quite a bit of honing. Carnifex then attack the listener with lo-fi ferocity; so lo-fi, in fact, that said ferocity is significantly dampened as a result. Ancestral Legacy are a much more laid-back affair, but somewhat bland compared to the aforementioned Ravn. Wrapping up the compilation is the band that readers are most likely to have heard of: 1349, featuring insanely fast drumming courtesy of Satyricon's Frost -- so much so that the guitar work and screams become rather secondary to the merciless drumming, and the song itself is rather forgettable. I believe this song belongs to their 2001 self-titled EP, rather than 2002's _Liberation_ full-length (which I have not heard yet). Overall, as with virtually any compilation, quality fluctuates considerably throughout the disc, but in this case there's more of the interesting variety. Considering these are mostly quite underground bands, the compilation is actually a very good value: you won't easily find these tracks elsewhere unless you go demo scavenging. I know I will certainly be on the lookout for some of these bands in the future.

Contact: http://www.svartmetall.no

(article published 31/3/2003)


ALBUMS
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1/14/2002 A McKay 7 Various - Colorado Colossus
10/19/2001 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Beauty in Darkness 5
8/12/2001 A McKay 2 Various - Brazilian Assault
8/12/2001 V Eldefors 7 Various - Triarchy of Vasconia
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1/16/1999 A Cantwell 8 Various - From Kaamos to Midnight Sun -- Finnish Metal Compilation
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10/1/1998 A Cantwell 7 Various - Songs From the Penalty Box: Volume 2
10/1/1998 P Schwarz 8 Various - Amduscias
9/1/1998 P Azevedo 6 Various - High Radiation 4
9/1/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Call on the Dark II
9/1/1998 B Meloon 7 Various - Bestial Sampler: 1997-1998
9/1/1998 A Wasylyk 8 Various - Fiesta Comes Alive!
9/1/1998 P Schwarz 9 Various - Statements of Intent
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 6 Various - Blackened III
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Statements of Intent
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6/7/1998 P Azevedo Various - Peaceville X
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6/7/1998 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Voyager: 10 Years Nuclear Blast
6/7/1998 B Meloon 8 Various - Until the End of Time
1/1/1998 A Wasylyk 5 Various - A Declaration of Independence
1/1/1998 A Gaudrault 7 Various - Masters of Misery - Black Sabbath: The Earache Tribute
1/1/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Untitled (ten)
11/17/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - Earache Unplugged 2
7/14/1997 A Wasylyk 3 Various - The Kanada Compilation
7/14/1997 Z Tsarfin 7 Various - Awakenings: Females in Extreme Music
7/14/1997 A Bromley 9 Various - A Black Mark Tribute
6/7/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - The Ozz-Fest: Live
5/13/1997 P Azevedo 8 Various - Out of the Dark Live Compilation
5/13/1997 S Hoeltzel 9 Various - World Domination II
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2/5/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - The Absolute Supper
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3/14/1996 A Bromley 7 Various - Identity II
3/14/1996 N Bassett 8 Various - With Us Or Against Us
1/17/1996 G Filicetti 9 Various - Four Ways To Misery
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