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Harmdaud - Skärvor

by Chris Hawkins at 18 February 2019, 3:08 PM

HARMDAUD is an Atmospheric Black Metal band from Sweden.  “Skärvor” is the second full-length released by the band which is actually a project consisting of one musician, Andreas Stenlund, who performs all the instruments and sings.  Vintersorg produced the last album and evidently sat behind the board for this as well.  HARMDAUD is aimed at keeping things authentic and by having all the lyrics in Swedish, this is certainly achieved.

The first track is titled “Kraft,” and the album begins with some trippy, ambient effects before launching into a more traditional part.  The flood gates burst open with some serious blasting over which multiple-layered guitars perform various riffs that fit together like pieces of a puzzle.  There really is a unique vibe created – after the first chorus, keyboards are used, lightly playing a major interval and then more effects are quickly used.  There is a constant tug of war between the effects/out of the box ideas and straight forward Metal that keeps things interesting.  Light staccato strings provide the outro as the song ends on a quite unusual note/feeling.  “Bränt till Grund,” the third track again uses the layering of tracks to successfully create a full, rich sound.  Clean vocals are used for the first time on this song and are sung over the growling which gives the song an interesting character.  In the middle, a break of sorts occurs featuring just the drums and keyboards.  It actually seems out of left field, but it does serve to split the song.  Overall, the song has an almost Folk Metal feel with its use of ethnic-sounding melodies and the clean vocals.

The fourth track is the title track and is built around a melody exposed early on by the guitar.  This song, like the last, has less of a Black Metal feel than the earlier songs on the album.  It is still upbeat, though, but with a lot of palm-muted parts over which keyboards play large, hanging chords.  I’m reminded of listening to SENTENCED back in the day with the driving beat, growling vocals, and memorable melody all aiding in creating a cold, frost-bitten air.  “Kolass,” the fifth track has a main riff that is quite complex.  The picking pattern is quite the arduous task as it lends itself to giving the song a modern Thrash feel.  Of course, the over-arching majestic theme is added to put the HARMDAUD brand firmly in place.

It is absolutely amazing how one musician can record an album of eight songs that sound so convincing.  Had I not known this was a one-man project prior to listening, I would never have guessed it being so.  Andreas certainly has a keen ear for song construction, arrangement, and instrumentation.  The bass has a round, massive sound, powerfully aided by tasteful amounts of distortion.  The guitars nail the desired tone yet are clear enough to discern individual parts.  If the drums are actually a machine, then technology has reached the point of singularity as foretold by Ray Kurzweil.  I would not necessarily categorize this project as Atmospheric Black Metal, though, for it is much more straight-forward and less abstract.  Ultimately, this is a solid album from a project that incorporates elements of Black Metal, Thrash, Melodic Death Metal, and even some Folk Metal elements.  It will be interesting to see how the material develops on the next album for there is certainly great potential here.

Songwriting:  6
Originality:  6
Memorability:  5
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

1. Kraft
2. Stöpt
3. Bränt till Grund
4. Skärvor
5. Kolass
6. Natten oss Genomströmmar
7. Sprickorna I Verkligheten
8. Näven kring min hals
9. The Last Prophet
10. Martyrium
Andreas Stenlund – All Instruments and Vocals
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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