Sigrblot - _Blodsband (Blood Religion Manifest)_
(Nordiska Forlaget, 2003)
by: David Rocher (9.5 out of 10)
The secretive Swedish outfit Sigrblot's first release is intricate indeed, on both the musical and ideological fronts; although the presence of a disputably subtle cover of Fortress' "Commie Scum" on a Nordiska Forlaget release could legitimately induce hasty "NSBM" tagging, Sigrblot's first release cleverly enough evades the grotesque pitfalls which Graveland's, Nokturnal Mortum's and similar bands' releases launch themselves with fanaticised abandon. Revolving around an ideological rather than political concept, _Blodsband (Blood Religion Manifest)_ unfurls over eleven tracks, plus the aforementioned Fortress cover -- alas providing a rather basely political closure to _Blodsband_'s ideological manifest -- and a slower, mildly experimental and rather unconvincing ghost track.

Playing intricate, powerful and varied black metal overshadowed by the distinctive trademark of the early Norwegian scene (along the lines of early Satyricon, Gorgoroth and Storm recordings), Sigrblot move with impressive ease from speeding raw black metal onslaughts (as on "Manifest (Blood religion part II)") to slower segues influenced by traditional and/or medieval music -- as the incredible chorus on "Döende Generations Dom" or the glorious Storm-hailing bridge on "Ödesjord" testify to. Tastefully interspersed appearances of various acoustic instruments, samples or non-black metal musical components grace this release with a welcome spectrum of varied emotions and atmospheres; in addition, _Blodsband (BRM)_ also benefits from an excellent production, striking a fine balance between raw black-metallic harshness and power. Judging from this first release, Sigrblot's most impressive ability is this enigmatic band's capacity to fuse lyrical concepts, music and production into a coherent entity, which writhes and seethes with enthralling homogeneity in its black metal-tinged fury.

I'll eagerly be looking forward to hearing more epic black metal from Sigrblot in the future, and can only hope that the band's political outspokenness will not make this raw musical gem impossible to come by via reluctant mailorders.


(article published 11/10/2004)

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