Den Saakaldte - Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete
Agonia Records
Black Metal
7 songs (48:13)
Release year: 2014
Den Saakaldte , Agonia Records
Reviewed by Goat

Something of a black metal supergroup, Den Saakaldte impressed me in 2009 with their second album All Hail Pessimism, which bent pure black metal into a set of emotion-laden mildly experimental anthems. Disappointingly, not only have they lost Shining gurgler Niklas Kvarforth along the way, but they've also toned the experimental aspects of their sound down somewhat for this, full-length number three. It feels stripped down in more ways than one; from the more traditional Norwegian black metal sound that kicks in immediately to being a colossal twenty minutes shorter than All Hail Pessimism. Neither of these automatically makes it a poorer album, but this does require a different mental approach, and as such Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete feels disappointing on initial listens.

Yet give it time, and it burrows into your (dark, scaly) heart. The impact of the new members (including drummer Tybalt, guitarist Tjalve, and vocalist Eldur – tied together with links to various obscure black metal projects, mainly Pantheon I and Icelandic band Curse) isn't enormous, and they've had a couple of years in the band before this album, so everything sounds suitably unified and together. And although the songs initially don't seem to wander far from the black icy path of trve Norsk darkness, they prove to be deeper and more interesting than first impressions would suggest. Opening blaster Din Siste Dag seems fairly traditional, with melodic guitar lines buried in a heap of blasting drums and snarled vocals, but a mid-point break-down into ripping blackthrash shredding is terrific, complete with a Tom G-esque 'ugh!' The track opens up further after that, with a change in vocals and a more progressive attitude to the guitars, and things seem to be improving.

The following Forbanna Idioter opens with almost grindcore heaviness, like 90s Darkthrone with a rocket under it, and again builds towards something more progressive, working the melodic riff lines and showing a bit more diversity from Tybalt's drums. Du Selvproklamerte Misjonær opens with a wild yell and more blackthrash riffing, moving into a classic Satyricon vibe, slower, atmospheric moments mixed with lightspeed blasting, yet far less restrained than the Norse duo ever were. Endeløst Øde opens with groovy riffs and clean singing before returning to shouts and building up to something fast and vicious, even working a strummed interlude in, like a microcosm of black metal from the last ten years. Nothing here is revelatory – something I wrote about All Hail Pessimism, but even truer here! Yet it's good to hear a classic style played well, as shown off on killer finale Ondskapens Nødvendighet alone, and it all kicks a decent amount of arse. What can you do, after all, as a band, when you're two decades too late for the style you're playing? You play it well and hope people like it. Den Saakaldte play it very well, and deserve attention.

Killing Songs :
Din Siste Dag, Endeløst Øde, Djevelens Verk, Ondskapens Nødvendighet
Goat quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Den Saakaldte that we have reviewed:
Den Saakaldte - All Hail Pessimism reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
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