Sunday, 31 January 2010

Kaosritual - Svøpt Morgenrød. 75/100.

Kaosritual are one of those bands who live up to them name, providing us with chaotic soundscapes that are a complete and utter throwback to the early 1990’s when Scandinavia produced the worlds best black metal. Since then, black metal has spread like wild fire through mainland Europe and beyond to the American franchise that is now collectively known as “USBM”. There are still a small number of bands in and around Scandinavia who’re trying to fly the flag for the olden day traditions of Darkthrone styled vocals, endless tremolo and double bass work, alongside repetition and a reiteration of the themes that caused this spark of interest to begin with. Bands like Kaosritual, for instance, with this debut, released in 2007, ‘Svøpt Morgenrød’ are one of the few notable acts who’re doing everything within their power to justify a renaissance in the modern era. I think it is fair to say that everything you will expect to find on this record will be here, somewhere in the distorted haze of the furious bass that aligns the soundscapes with aggression and hatred on a Satanic kind. Specifically, hatred towards Christianity and those who adhere to its undesirable ways.

Live by the sword and die by the sword is the way of Kaosritual, inflicting their damaging style with double bass and echoing guitars that remind me slightly of a more mature ‘Transilvanian Hunger’. Recreating a legendary record perceived to be among the greatest ever conceived within a specific field is not easy to do and many bands have fallen by the wayside in an attempt to get people’s nostalgic juices flowing again as rapidly as they did back in the midst of the second wave where Burzum, Immortal and Mayhem were still producing top quality efforts that revolutionised the genre overnight. It seems, from the general consensus, that most black metal fans are seemingly in need of a revolutionary record to take the genre by storm. I believe, personally, that there has been several records of this nature since the turn of the new millennium, but its increasingly difficult to help others to believe this. I wouldn’t necessarily try to convince you that ‘Svøpt Morgenrød’ is one of those because, quite simply, it isn’t, but it does have a persuasive texture to it that makes it like it deep down, even if I cannot quite admit it in full to begin with. The more I write about this record, the more I find myself enjoying its ever-so-slightly repetitious ways, but given its diverse vocal display and engaging guitar style that doesn’t endeavour to make us at home in the slightest, I find myself becoming entranced by the meticulous manner in which this two man band go about their work.

I would have liked to have heard more from the organ, which only developed a funerary style on the long winded ‘Djevelpakt Og Trolldomsmakt’. I was disappointed that this wasn’t a regular theme throughout because I didn’t expect it, despite the fact that it is quite clearly on show throughout the first song. Though, in my defence, this song is mediocre in comparison to the next three, so my mind did wander a bit. Some would rather think of the modern day as a wasteland, which gives birth to stillborn babies in the form of the experimental bands trying to conceive new sub-genres and attach a variety of different elements, sometimes from outside genres, to the traditions of this anti-social genre who needs no affection or love from anyone, or anything. It doesn’t even love its own hideous façade. How could it? Its so disgustingly unbearable at times that it makes us want to spill our guts. Kaosritual are a breed of band that likes to made people uncomfortable with its hideous genius. I wouldn’t call this band original, I wouldn’t even call them that likeable, but given their utterly convincing approach to traditional black metal from the second wave, one cannot help but listen and be engrossed by the dismemberment of our limbs as the guitars shred us to pieces and the double bass pounds holes into our flinching body.

This approach has been done several times before so it becomes more difficult to make it convincing since this style isn’t as accessible, or used nowadays in comparison to the old days which are looked back on by most as the glory days. So, in order to be successful at this kind of black metal you must offer your audience something that either makes them feel so nostalgic that they cannot help but love its cold and distant ways, or you subtly mix something into the concoction that makes people wonder why the originators of this style didn’t do it themselves. Sometimes bands can float in between and do neither of those things, but still draw in respectable crowds, but this is generally seen as unusual and unlikely to happen. It is certainly fair to suggest that Kaosritual have stiff competition, even inside of Scandinavia when it comes to producing this methodical sound with conviction. Bands like Celestial Bloodshed and Dødsengel, who have just embarked on their black metal journey, are making this approach acceptable again and its going to take something special for Kaosritual to knock bands like this off their perch. Aside from the mediocre ‘Forbannelse’, Kaosritual have an accomplished sound that mixes hypnotic distortion with engaging vocals that can something reminds me of the way Urfaust’s vocalist adeptly belts out his lyrical themes with persuasion and endearing reliability that makes us fans stream back to them time and again. Bouncy aggressive black metal which is a throwback to the days long since passed.

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