Swedish Black Metal outfit Hladomrak (Хладомрак), return with their third full-length album, Archaic Sacrifice. Originally a one-man project, ‘Hladomrak’ can be translated from the Slavic languages as “cold darkness” and is inspired by founder Evgenerator’s Latvian heritage.
Hladomrak – Archaic Sacrifice (Non Serviam Records)
Release Date: 10 September 2021
Words: Jools Green
The band describes Archaic Sacrifice as an epic journey across Black Metal with their own unique flare. “There are always new flares added to every new release for this band,” the band says, “slightly new ways of doing things, material and sound-wise. The same can be said about Archaic Sacrifice. Although, this one goes the extra mile in doing things differently. We have new blood taking care of the lyrics and vocals.
“This means that a new unique lyrical concept is introduced along with different vocal arrangements and techniques. A new drummer, Nils’ Dominator’ Fjellström [ex-Dark Funeral, Nordjevel], takes care of the pace and the details like never before. Together with all the new musical aspects the album adds a soundscape that’s never been used before.”
Since their inception, the idea behind the music has been to create, “Black Metal that’s succumbed by nature’s cold, raw, unrelenting essence, presented in a professional and well-produced manner, drawing inspiration from everything within nature that’s not touched or contaminated by mankind’s presence.”
For this release, the lyrical theme is also connected to vocalist Talon’s 2018 book Fall Division, a philosophical tome about Fall Division-Luciferianism, which, in brief summary, discusses the separation of core humans, individual people from collective people, a division of the person of mind from a person of fear and draws deeply from nihilism, Dharma and ontophobic philosophy, arriving at a profound conclusion: the physical world of Man holds no real importance. However, the book goes much deeper than that, and this is forged with the previously mentioned, original idea and concept of Hladomrak.
First off, I can’t emphasise enough what a superb listen this album is. It’s utterly engaging, gelling with me on just the second playthrough. The eight tracks, spanning thirty-seven minutes, makes a perfect vessel for those mentioned lyrical inspirations. The compositions are dynamically constructed, manifesting as a very Swedish sound in origin and dark, brutal, powerful and precise.
A lot of attention has been paid to the details put into both the guitar work and the complex, engaging drum work. I love the vocal delivery. It’s harsh and scathing with excellent intonation and protraction.
Needless to say, I’ve no favourite tracks. Each is of the same high standard, the same engaging quality. From the opener, the dark and driving Fozforos Insigniap, which has just enough melodic undercurrent to engage without detracting from the brutality, delivered with a plodding but dynamic mid-pace, all the way to the closer Niel’n, a three-minute meld of blackened riffing, of squealing leadwork and sinister spoken lyrics, a fitting close to a superb album.
In between you get; I Zinew, a dark brute, punctuated with complex flourishes and with a tempo that rises frantically for a brief moment and with an abundance of addictively engaging repeat riff patterns, Tiethu’m, whose riffs weave a complex and dark design, a perfect base for those dramatic vocals, the dark and sinister Wistarbor, with its powerful mid-point spoken lyrics and haunting second half leadwork, Saith, a punchy number where the insane thrashy shreds towards the close had the hair standing up on the back of my neck, the dark haunting, superbly compelling Asterial Well, with its powerfully sinister vocals and Port End, which twists and contorts with dark malice.
I highly recommend Archaic Sacrifice, especially if you like a powerful, more modern, and precise Black Metal delivery.
It will be released as a jewel case CD and as a digital album. Pre-orders are available at Non Serviam Records and Bandcamp, https://non-serviam-records.bandcamp.com/album/archaic-sacrifice