Alt Skal Svinne Hen… may be LIKHEIM’s first shot across the bow when it comes to black metal, but the project’s been incubating for around two decades, so let’s strip all excuses such as “It’s the first recording” and “Pretty good try” away, shall we? Helmsman and vocalist Gretn has had plenty of time to craft this EP into what he wishes, to mold it to his vision of perfect form, so no one to laud or blame but himself should things go awry.
The title track reeks with the stench of mid/late ‘90s GORGOROTH, Gretn’s vocals reminiscent of Gaahl’s work in that era. Omnipresent riffs scatter hate, while the drum cannons fire from the rear. I’d like to have heard a bit more heft in the bass department, but this could come down to the mix, as the guitars are definitely pushed forward
‘Smerte’ hangs back at the start, but once it gets going, what we have is quality mid-paced black metal in the verses, an uptick in speed and energy during the chorus. Vocally, Gretn fluctuates between spoken delivery, a fairly decent harsh BM tone and lower register with ease, not really veering into the stratosphere with shriek or scream. In this case, I’ll compliment someone who knows their range and finds their space within it, yet not being tied to one specific style, which – if we’re being honest – can bore the corpsepaint right off the listener when it comes to black metal.
Beginning with a meditative acoustic pattern that I wish had carried on longer, ‘Takens Kall’ then string-scrapes and shreds the ear and flesh, easily the most rabid offering here, but also the most fully realized. Tendrils of the French scene threaten to curl about, invoking ANOREXIA NERVOSA in moments, but so very, very Nordic is LIKHEIM that the ice doesn’t allow a full grasping, as back to the blizzarding bestial fury (see what I did there?) we go for ‘Stormen’.
The title of this EP is accurate. All shall disappear. But I, for one, am glad LIKHEIM is emerging from the mist fully formed. Let’s see where this goes and hope it doesn’t take another 20 years.
Review By: Lord Randall
Alt Skal Svinne Hen… [EP]
Underground Kvlt Records
3 / 6