Released: 2013, Art of Propaganda
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Considering the pedigree of this band, expectations for this album were going to be hard to meet. Christian Larsson aka Draug has been in many bands but most notably as bassist in Swedish mega band Shining. DET PERSONLIGA HELVETETS SPIRAL translating to The Personal Hell Spiral is the 3rd studio album released by Draug in his personal project, and one some fans will have been waiting early to hear. A three year gap is not usually considered too long between album releases, but with the previous 5 releases all being within a three year period, it seems like forever to have to wait for this release. It has, however, been well worth the wait.
There is only one word that can truly describe this album: beautiful. From the opening track ‘Genom Förgängelsens Dimmor’ to the final closing note on ‘Agnosis’ this album is nothing short of pure majesty. The influence coming over from Shining is prevalent through this album, especially when it falls into the black metal sounding sections. Despite this, Svart really does sit in its own space and with each album Draug find his own place and his own sound. Teetering between violent desolation and despair album is honed into the perfect balance, the violent outbreaks are pure aggressive sensory bliss after the long clean acoustic passages. The violins add a neo-classical feel, two genres that have long been bed buddies, but are often not used to their full potential. In this case, the long passages particularly in Hadanfard (Parting) provide a calmer, lulling decent into depression too often ignored in metal. It’s the contrast in this album that really helps drive the melancholic qualities to their full potential. While some try for the relentlessly aggressive, this album switches between the screaming, maddening and endless pain, and the moments of calm hopelessness that create the feeling of perpetual nothingness.
This album will really appeal to fans of the older Shining work. The rich moving piano, violin and choral lines really add extra dimensions to this album that remove it from the average run of the mill suicidal depressive black metal. Although Svart has not totally managed to break away from the sound of his other bands, he has managed to carve his own path. This may not be the perfect album, falling into repetitive riffs on occasion and erring on the sparse side but the high points of this album really make the whole experience worth it and I’ll be early awaiting any further releases from this band.