Sixteen years after its initial formation, and now trimmed down to a duo, it’s BIZARREKULT that I’m trusting to give me a break, however short, from this ambient / instrumental mode I’ve been in of late. Having never heard a note of its music, I’m putting a lot of faith in a band who’s only now releasing its debut full-length. And thus…
Of course an intro, of course of the ambient sort I’d just mentioned trying to get a respite from, but still different enough from what I’ve been hearing that I’m not perturbed. Mercifully, ‘For 1000 Ar Siden’ arrives, the first thing leaping out of the speakers is the stellar production. Surrounding, enshrouding, winding up in sheets of no escape, black metal of the sort not so much “primitive”, but primal, if you get my meaning. Though far from the beating of sticks on stones on badly-wired guitars a mile from the microphones, there’s something ancient at work here, and I’m along for the ride as ‘Galskap’ utterly levels, pendulum rhythms and guitars working in tandem for maximum effect. Cold as the Siberian peaks, thankless as the Norwegian forests its members inhabited / inhabit, but there’s a respect for Nature wound throughout Vi Overlevde, which, as it happens, translates into “We Survived”. Fitting, yes? ‘Ut I Skogen’ backs off a bit, revealing a band as capable of finding its way through the valleys as shouting from the mountaintops, elements of post-something at times colliding with rapid riffing and persistent drumming, but successfully so.
After spending half of ‘I Trygge Hender’ in a surprisingly straightforward attack (think The Cult Is Alive DARKTHRONE, but slightly more unhinged, and with a chorus Fenriz would shave his beard to have written), the forward momentum stops, jarring us into gossamer, shimmering guitar wanderings ala SON OF THE VELVET RAT, fey vocals wafting overhead. I’m sure there’s a reason why, but it seems the song could’ve been split into two and worked better. ‘Frememede Kyster’ continues on with the subtle melodious vibe, until ‘Ensomhet’ rears its venomous and fanged head, mid-paced for the most part, no less attention-grabbing. That it holds the attention, even at over 5 ½ minutes speaks well to what the duo can do when they set their mind to it.
There’s still a lot of room to grow, as Vi Overlevde reveals, but with a first showing this solid, and a production that could teach a lot of other more known black metal bands how an album should sound, I think BIZARREKULT deserves to be given that room. Who can know what it will become?
Review By: Lord Randall
3.5 / 6