Reviewed: January 2021
Released: 2021, Petrichor
Reviewer: Svetlana Likhacheva
Norwegian black metal band Utbyrd, through Petrichor, are about to give their album Varskrik (which translates into English as Warning) a chance to see the world with the physical release. The digital version was released in the far 2017, but Varskrik is the kind of record that deserves to be seen by many.
Karsten og Draugen immediately shows the extremely high quality of the record. The beautifully dark instrumentals, recorded with great quality, create a dimensional atmosphere. This magnificent painting of sound is completed by gorgeous and soft vocals, interlacing with intense inhuman screaming. A mix of different styles makes the song dynamic and interesting despite its length. I especially enjoyed the symphonic part in the middle, and how different instruments were being added one by one later.
The rhythmic drums of Dauing reminds me of a horse ride. An absolutely crazy and rapid one, but not a race – a chase. A menacing one, with a probably dark outcome – the drop of sound and a scream, which sounds like a last breath, gives the vague guess what might have happened. The vocals after that moment rise to the insane level of wilderness and intensity, like a cry of a suffering soul.
Another song I enjoyed a lot was Sjøormen (The Sea Worm). The vocals are especially strong and brutal in this song, and the instrumentals follow the path of anxious, unholy sounds, creating a feeling of incoming catastrophe. This song is a catharsis of suspense and desperate sense of inevitable danger. Very well made, an interesting and unique track.
The theme of fear is continued in Skogen (The Forest) – my personal favourite from the whole record. An awesome melodic intro creates a magical atmosphere. But even though it’s a fairy tale, it’s not the one for kids – the music is vaguely disturbing, creating that classic horror feeling of being watched. Then the vocals attack the listener’s ears, all of sudden, and they are constantly interrupted by truly horrifying screams and screeches. The ending part I loved a lot too – the symphonic section is beautiful, and after a short time it blends flawlessly with a solid rhythm, reminding of a battle march.
I can call Varskrik an excellent record without a twinge of conscience. They blend soft and harsh, slow melodies and savage drumming, screaming and whispering in their own awesome way, making their music unpredictable and a pleasure to explore. Even if you are not very familiar with black metal, that might be a good one to start with.