Norwegian Black Metal outfit Khold finally returns after eight years with a follow-up to the icily superb Til Endes. Eight years seems like a long time, but it was six years before that, that they released Hundre år Gammal. Also, considering that three of the members are also with Tulus, their time is clearly to be split between the two bands.
Khold – Svartsyn (Soulseller Records)
Release Date: 24 June 2022
Words: Jools Green
When you look at the combined studio release pattern of the two bands and the fact that the band’s fifth member’ Hildr, wife of vocalist/guitarist Gard, writes all lyrics for both Khold and Tulus, you can see they all have their work cut out balancing these two bands.
Svartsyn delivers ten tracks, spanning around forty minutes of their trade mark, down-tuned, raw mid-paced delivery and with the thing I love so much about their sound, the atmosphere!
Khold doesn’t try to be flashy. They focus on delivering a superbly icy, dark atmosphere that cruses along with unnerving menace, delivering what they believe to be “true to the soul of Norwegian Black Metal.” A statement that I totally agree with.
Svartsyn opens with the pounding driver Apostel which ebbs and builds with sinister intent, then slips menacingly into Ødslet Blod, which has a dark unnerving groove with repeated, engagingly complex but not overly fussy riff bursts. A hypnotically good listen.
Evig brings the pace up slightly and epitomises, for me, classical Norwegian Black Metal. I absolutely love this track. Superbly raw, primal and massively engaging.
Skarpretter holds onto the primal feel and delivers punch and drive that oozes determination, and I love how the riffs intensify in the second half.
In complete contrast, Helligdom Av Døde has a dark unnerving aura. It’s slower in pace but powerfully delivered, particularly Gard’s vocal intonation. A magnificently hypnotic and dark track and Sarke’s drum flourish towards the close builds on the overall track impact.
Keeping you on your toes, Manngard, is a high velocity all-out aural assault on your senses, whereas Dystopi takes things back to a solid blackened plod, laced with sinister intent and, again, oozes atmosphere.
The pace elevates a little for I Demonens Bok, a dark, hypnotic addictive track with an excellent ebb and build and superb bass lines.
I love the hypnotic repeat riff on Villvandre, a track that had an intriguing and engagingly meandering feel as it progresses. It’s taking you on a journey but to where? Listen and maybe find out.
The final piece, Bryt i Udåd Ut, is slow, dark, heavy as hell with more of that raw sinister and primal atmosphere, cleverly created by seemingly simple but superbly delivered guitarwork.
Favourite track? Maybe Evig, but on an album this solid, it’s a difficult choice.
Svartsyn was recorded and produced with Andy LaRocque in his Sonic Train Studios. It features an artwork by Terje Johnsen and photos by Sebastian Ludvigsen and will be available as a CD digipack + booklet, limited black vinyl, limited gold vinyl, limited half black/half white vinyl and digital.