Solbrud - Levende I Bronshoj Vandtarn
Atmospheric Black Metal
8 songs (69'28")
Release year: 2021
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

If you don’t read up on Danish Solbrud latest album Levende I Bronshoj Vandtarn the most surprising fact won’t become obvious to you until the end of the 5th or 6th track 45 or so min into the album. You hear the crowd noise and approving applause. The thought creeps in. Can this be live music? The answer will become apparent after some research on Solbrud and this album in particular. Yes, this is the live collection of their selected compositions spanning a decade, recorded in a middle of cavernous cold water tower somewhere in Copenhagen creating a particular heightened awareness of their atmospheric ambient black metal. For those not familiar with the Danes, Solbrud has been in existence since 2010, includes members of death collective Sulphurous and shares members with another introverted black metal unit Afsky (specifically vocalist and guitarist Ole Pedersen Luk). Solbrud has three full length releases under their collective belts, and Levende I Bronshoj Vandtarn borrows tracks from all of the band’s previous albums. Consider this live recording then a pinnacle of their career thus far.

Ode Lagt opens up with huge echoing drum beats and stoic, grim, Germanic chord progression. Meandering lead in the vein of Kermania or Verdunkeln circles around like a raven over decaying flesh, until everything breaks out in a short span and blasting ensues. You are sucked into whirling emotional vortex where pride is mixed with fear and another contemplative melodic guitar lead exits Ode Lagt into a static electroacoustic Skygge. Menneske is primarily spaced out distorted chords and, as chords increase in frequency, another breakthrough comes in the form of blasting melodic sequence of Sortedoden expressing tragedy and triumph in equal measure. It is interesting that while short tracks on the album don’t seem to add much, the longer multipart pieces (Ode Lagt, Sortedoden) seem to absolutely fly by. From convincing powerful double bass to blasts and back, loneliness and mystery, buttressed with evocative hissing vocals, Sortedoden braids in some acoustic guitar and puts you in melodic meditative state, although the track itself is rather brutal. Booming bass levels and all, you can’t help to further marvel at the quality of this live production.

Solbrud gets even more experimental and multilayered on Klippemennesket where stop & go drone steadily grows into something rather disturbing. Funeral dirge of Bortgang, coupled with total cymbal destruction, spills into a double bass pandemonium, causing another trance-like experience. On the other hand Besat Af Morke is Burzumy, dungeony and minimalistic, superfast and yet even more quickening blast causing complete loss of control. The only new track on the album is fully instrumental Sjaeleskrig, which could be reminiscent of Solstafir if the Icelanders decided to take it a little bit back in time to their blacker origins yet still concentrated on the mirth and soothiness of the profound not rushed melody.

Trying to emphasize their contemplative and introspective style of otherwise pretty grim black metal, it was a genius decision by Solbrud to release an album like Levende I Bronshoj Vandtarn. To cover so much ground and to do it live is a testament to the individuality and quality of this band.

Killing Songs :
Ode Lagt, Sortedoden, Sjaeleskrig
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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