Den Saakaldte - _All Hail Pessimism_
(Avantgarde Music, 2009)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
While members of various Norwegian black metal outfits coming together as a supergroup of sorts is hardly a novelty, the results of some of those projects have been quite interesting. Founded by former Gorgoroth member Mikael Sykelig, Den Saakaldte recorded _All Hail Pessimism_, their debut album, with a line-up that also included the Dodheimsgard keyboard player, the vocalist and drummer from Shining, and 1349's bass player.

Of the four bands mentioned, there isn't any one in particular that clearly stands out as having been used as a starting point for this project -- which as far as I'm concerned, in these cases tends to be a good thing. Still, the overall result is a sombre, at times even quirky kind of black metal, which along with the presence of Shining's vocalist may remind you of that band at times. But overall, _All Hail Pessimism_ holds its own quite well as far as not coming across as a derivative work.

The album features some effective atmospheric piano numbers, although strangely enough their strong low-end causes the ensuing 'normal' tracks to sound thinner than they already are. That their sound is not meant to be overly heavy is acceptable, but it seems odd to have the atmospheric breaks dwarfing the metal numbers.

The music generally remains a lot more progressive than aggressive, with the eclectic vocal work finding good company on both guitar and keys. For all its odd ideas however, _All Hail Pessimism_ does not end up a disjointed album full of perplexing moves. Consistency is still not the main goal here of course, and sometimes things may not work all that well together, but the album generally keeps the listener waiting to find out what comes next. Not necessarily one for the history books, but unusual and interesting enough to warrant some attention.


(article published 15/4/2009)

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