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Djevel – Blant Svarte Graner

Blant Svarte Graner
by Erika Kuenstler at 10 April 2018, 9:31 PM

Formed in 2009, DJEVEL is a supergroup of leviathans from the Norwegian Black Metal scene, with four solid albeit slightly lacklustre releases to their name. Nonetheless, there was a still an undercurrent of a higher expectation from the band, given their experience in other well-known projects. However, after a massive change in lineup, this March saw them unleashing their fifth full length album “Blant Svarte Graner” onto the world. And as one might expect following a near-complete change in line-up, the sound has also taken on a new direction. Ciekals has kept up the raw Black Metal sound of the 90s, albeit with a slightly more melodious feel. Taking up the vocals full-time, as well as the bass duties to boot is Mannevond, best known for his vicious snarls in KOLDBRANN. Faust, formerly of EMPEROR, completes the line-up, adding his thunderous beats to the mix, adding much more variation to the drum-work than seen on previous albums. This fresh blood may be exactly what DJEVEL needed, as their sound is better than ever.

Overall, “Blant Svarte Graner” is more raw and ferocious than its predecessors. Whilst the more aggressive and ravenous parts are tempered by mellow sections, this is not quite to the same degree as in DJEVEL’s previous releases. But the album also packs a few surprises, starting off with the first spoken and then acoustic intro “Saa begynner det”, with perhaps a more melodious start to the album than one might expect from such a formidable trio. This tune is then carried over into “Her er ikke spor af mennesker” redolent with the usual distorted guitars and harsh vocals. This sets the bar for what is to come, from swaying feel of “I denne gamle falne kirke” with the obligatory lyrics about Lucifer all the way through to the darker and faster pace of “Det svartner paa likbleik hud”, and carrying on to the more old-school feel of the vicious tempest that is “Banker som doedningeknoker”. Perhaps one of my favourite songs occurs near the pinnacle of the album: “Paa vintersti skal hun synge en gravsang som aldrig ender”. Starting out again with an acoustic guitar-work, this song ebbs and flows over its 10 minute course, occasionally returning to the opening melody. Some of the chords here are disharmonic and juddering, jarring the listener out of getting too comfortable with the more melodic sections; this may take some getting used to, however, it adds an interesting texture to the song. Closing off “Blant Svarte Graner” is “Alt som her var er naa borte”, which again uses an acoustic guitar melody that gradually swells into and intricate song, slowly bringing the listener back down and bringing the album round full circle.

The production quality can be quite fuzzy at times, which is not necessarily a bad thing on a Black Metal album. However, in this case, I think “Blant Svarte Graner” lost some of its bite in the process. Sometime, there was also the feeling that DJEVEL were trying to pack in a few too many different elements into the songs, which left them feeling disjointed in places. But these gripes aside, “Blant Svarte Graner” is still an album that is worth checking out. In addition to that, DJEVEL will be doing a few scattered performances this year, so be sure to catch them if you can.

Memorability: 7
Production: 7
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Saa begynner det
2. Her er ikke spor af mennesker
3. I denne gamle falne kirke
4. Paa vintersti skal hun synge en gravsang som aldrig ender
5. De danser rundt sopelimet som om den var deres mor
6. Det svartner paa likbleik hud
7. Naa er hele livet paa ravnens bord
8. Banker som doedningeknoker
9. Alt som her var er naa borte
Ciekals – Guitars
Mannevond – Vocals and Bass
Faust – Drums
Record Label: Aftermath Music


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