Norwegian Black Metal legends ‘Svarttjern’ return with their fifth full length, ‘Shame Is Just A Word’, a face ripping slice of crushing Norwegian Black Metal, which is, as always, packed to the brim with lustful misanthropic delights and is a more than worthy successor to 2016’s ‘Dødsskrik’, which although much more polished than its three predecessors was not as popular with some fans, however I liked it. ‘Shame Is Just A Word’ delivers a greater level raw brutality than ‘Dødsskrik’, a little along the lines of 2009’s ‘Misanthropic Path of Madness’, which is a particular favourite of mine.
The Abyss: Jools Green
With ‘Shame Is Just A Word’ there is also a Black ‘n’ Thrash element that emerges on most of tracks; ‘Ment til å Tjene’ with it’s full on, insane Black ‘n’ Thrash leadwork emerging in the latter part of the second half, ‘Ta dets Drakt’ which becomes thrashier as it develops, ‘Frost Embalmed Abyss’ an engaging track that twists and contorts, encompassing powerfully dark and driving elements of Thrash and darker reflective swathes and thrashy leads, title track ‘Shame is Just a Word’ a delightful slice of filthy Black ‘n’ Thrash, with it’s weird retro robot voices and proggy keyboards dropped in the end (for some obscure reason which I have to admit escapes me, however it doesn’t detract from my enjoyment, just left me momentarily puzzled) and then there is, from my perspective, an excellent cover of Thrash giants Exodus’s ‘Bonded by Blood’, encompassing all the Thrash rich drive and power of the original with a little added blackness, I particularly love the harsher vocal delivery here compared to the original.
Returning to the previously mentioned all-out raw Black Metal approach of ‘Misanthropic Path of Madness’ three tracks follow a little more in that vein; ‘Prince of Disgust’, along with the more restrained and protracted ‘Melodies of Lust’ and ‘Ravish Me’ a classic Black plodder that pounds along in a simple yet hugely effective manner.
The whole album has a wonderfully “sick and perverted” quality along the lines of Carpathian Forest that I particularly like, no surprises then that Grimdun, HaaN and Malphas are also involved in said band, so maybe a bit of Natterfrost’s crazy influence has rubbed off on them.
The amazing artwork for ‘Shame Is Just A Word’ is by Linda K Røed, also responsible for, amongst others, the artwork for Darkthrone’s Goatlord album.
It’s good to hear any band constantly mixing it up and trying to keep their sound fresh, sometimes it works and sometimes no so much, this for me totally nails it, so step into the ‘Svarttjern’ dungeon of lust, “Embrace your shame” because “Shame is just a word.”
‘Shame Is Just A Word’ is out now on Soulseller Records and well worth your attention!