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Svn.Seeker – Means to an End Award winner

Svn.Seeker
Means to an End
by Max Elias at 27 January 2021, 10:30 PM

One look at the name SVN.SEEKER and you assume it’s black metal—I’m not sure why or when the use of V instead of U wormed its way into the black metal lexicon, but it did, and now any band incorporating this spelling is marked. That assumption is borne out by the eerie instrumental intro “The Plot”, but as for what comes next; I would characterize it as being more on the thrash metal side of blackened thrash metal. Sure, the vocals are raspy and screechy, and tremolo riffs number among the devices used in the songs, but the tight, straight drumming and the focused pedal-tone riffing found for example on “Pilfered” are classic thrash metal. The song is a great example of how to blend the two styles; incorporating the (in my view) best aspect of black metal in the vocals, while retaining the snappy, driving quality of thrash metal riffing. And there’s plenty of melody involved as well; I didn’t realize that “Pilfered” was only 4 minutes long until I checked the timestamp, because of the amount of phases contained within; there is a clean interlude, a wealth of harmonized melodies, and a solo, flowing naturally to and between each other. It almost feels like SVN.SEEKER are setting up to be the spiritual successor to SKELETONWITCH.

“Seeking My Own Sun” supports this theory. The evil-sounding intervals in the intro are emblematic of SKELETONWITCH, as is the ominous melody played during the verses. The breakdown in “Seeking My Own Sun” is immense, suspenseful, and evokes feelings of apprehension, like good blackened thrash should. It screams out ‘something’s coming!’ and that something is a short but catchy solo.

On “Death of a Judge”, the band treads into more intense melodic death metal waters; with a jumping, urgent main riff that sounds like a slightly less-frantic ARSIS. The sparse drum-dominated interlude and heavy, ponderous gloom of the guitars remind listeners that this is still SVN.SEEKER. Without a doubt, this band is very good at amassing an amalgam of influences and styles to create their own approach, with twists that any one of those styles does not have.

The EP closes with “Means to an End”, a return to form for the band in that it alternates a bedrock of thrashy riffing with the dissonant melodic accents of black metal. It is one of the more ‘typical’ songs here, even as that does not make it bad at all. The staccato riff that dominates a large part of the first half of the song and some of the ending is one of the least interesting on the EP, but “Means to and End” has enough other strong points to make up for that.

SVN.SEEKER are an impressive and noteworthy new arrival to the metal scene, making music that combines the aggression of thrash metal with the atmosphere of black metal and adding a few other ingredients to keep it all fresh. People discovering this band should not read too much into the name; if you’re a die-hard obscure black metal fan, it will disappoint you, and if you dislike the harshness of that style, reading into SVN.SEEKER’s name will dissuade you from listening to them. For my part, I was very pleasantly surprised given their name. If you’re tired of waiting for new SKELETONWITCH and wish more bands would fill their niche, this is a great release to be familiar with.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Originality: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. The Plot (Instrumental)
  2. Pilfered
  3. Seeking My Own Sun
  4. Death of a Judge
  5. Means to an End
Lineup:
Nikita Khrenov – Guitars, Vocals, Synths
Rob Lembo – Bass, Backing Vocals
Pat Conaty – Drums
Geoff Chance – Guitars
Record Label: Independent
     


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