Released: 2014, NoiseArt
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
With the album name Ultimatum Necrophilia, I will admit that my hopes were already set high for this album. Much like BELPHAGOR’s Bondage Goat Zombie, there’s something about a completely insane name that instantly draws you into an album. What you see is really what you get with this band. With song names like ‘Hymns for the Molested’ and ‘Flourish to Succumb’ combined with the medieval inspired album cover, there’s not a lot of doubt as to this band’s genre, out and out pure misanthropic black metal. Even their name, SVARTTJERN meaning black tarn (a mountain lake formed by glacier ice), is based on a cold and windswept looking painting by August Cappelen!
Hailing from the home of black metal, Norway, this 5-piece started making a name for themselves in the underground scene with the release of their first demo back in 2005 with the release of their first demo, Blasphemic War, naming their style ‘true Norwegian black metal’. It wasn’t for another 2 demo releases that the band finally released their first studio album Misanthropic Path of Madness. Now, just over ten years since they formed, SVARTTJERN are back with Ultimatum Necrophilia, their third studio album.
Bands that stick to the ‘true’ sound of black metal set themselves an interesting challenge, to create something that stands out when everything has been done before. As the definition of this is to copy an old innovation, where can a band go that is truly new and interesting? In the case of SVARTTJERN, their name might evoke pictures of stillness, but their music is certainly not peaceful. The album contains a relentless marching energy that will either sweep you along or leave you battered in its wake. HansFyrste’s vocals snarl and spit their way through the full forty minute album, while guitarists HaaN and Fjellnord tirelessly blast out tremolo riffs throughout. Despite the external proclamation of tradition, the production on this album is surprisingly modern. Clear and concise, this album is a long way from the founding sounds that defined the genre, suggesting that these guys are not as totally adverse to modern day black metal as suggested.
Ultimatum Necrophilia perfectly encapsulates the sound of the black metal of the 90s if the black metal of the 90s stopped being about extreme DIY and started representing pricey studio equipment. Really, in the end though, these are small and unimportant arguments and can detract from what’s really important. When it comes to the music, Ultimatum Necrophilia is pure sickeningly twisted black metal: tight, precise and devastatingly brutal.
Review by Caitlin Smith