Reviewed by: Eric Strother
Chances are pretty good that unless you are the person who reads all of the liner notes to Crimson Moonlight albums or a part of Sweden’s black metal scene you had never heard of Skald in Veum until Rottweiler Records began advertising their debut EP, 1260 Days. You see, it seems the band likes to keep its past mysterious, a strategy that has proven effective for a number of bands over the years. That being said, I hope this is a band we will become quite familiar with in years to come.
After opening with the ominous sound of ravens croaking over peals of thunder (“Ravens over Lübenholz”), 1260 Days rips into the furious riffs and blastbeats of “Drunk with Tainted Blood,” which shows Skald in Veum means business. Nothing ambient or symphonic about this, just pure black metal in the vein of Crimson Moonlight, Mayhem, and Emperor. The song moves to a half-time feel about midway through before returning to the blastbeats and tremolo riffing to wrap it up. The album’s first single, if you will, “Inferno” follows, delivering as much of a metallic punch as the previous track. About two minutes in, the frenetic riffing gives way to a more down-tempo, doomy feel before returning to the opening speed and intensity. “Eden Raped” starts with a very bass-heavy riff before returning to full-bore black metal. “Until My Head Rolls” is a just a full-on black metal onslaught. Behind the riffs, there is some very nice melodic guitar playing that is easy to miss in a casual listen. Unlike the other tracks that give the listener a chance to catch their breath at some point, this one calls for endurance. The album’s final track, “Siaren“, starts off fast with an underlying heaviness, but around the four-minute mark, the speed gives way to driving riff and gang choruses to round out the album.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy more progressive/symphonic black metal a great deal, but it is really nice to have some bands willing to strip away all of that and return to the roots of the genre without sacrificing on production quality. Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that—the sound quality of this album is top-notch with a nice, full bass and not the stereotypical tinny, lo-fi sound associated with black metal.
The promo material for the band says, “Skald In Veum exists for a simple purpose: baptism of the masses by intense and relentless metal, cutting through the hordes of the less-than-Holy with a keenly honed metallic blade forged in the frostiest and most barren winters Earth has to offer, yet ablaze with unbridled passion and unrelenting energy.” Mission Accomplished.