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Sykelig Englen – This Hollow Land

Sykelig Englen
This Hollow Land
by Santiago Puyol at 06 April 2020, 1:59 PM

SYKELIG ENGLEN is a British Black Metal project by Nattskog, coming from Norwich. "This Hollow Land" is a dark and melodic affair, with an experimental nature and some atmospheric passages. The four track EP lasts a little over 20 minutes, passing by quite fast.

Opener "Unearthing the Hex" features some hypnotic riffing and steady groove from the programmed drums. Nattskog’s harsh vocals sound downright demonic on this track. The rhythm seems a little off when it comes to the drums, as they seem to clash a little with the rest of the music. A noisy, almost six-minute long track. It shifts midpoint through. There is an overall ominous feel to it, still managing to be quite catchy and entertaining.

"Bearer of the Ritual Lantern" comes next, with another steady drum pattern and borderline Post-Rockish guitars. It features a brief, dissonant solo that highlights Nattskog’s tastefulness and economy when it comes to playing and composing a solo. Clocking a little under four minutes, it is quite focused and straightforward.

Screaming and growling gets even more intense and despairing on the title-track. "This Hollow Land" is the longest song on the record, clocking in under six minutes. Noisy, tremolo-filled guitar make it sound closer to bands under the Post-Rock genre. Moreover, a lot of the instrumental work would not be out of place on the most apocalyptic albums of GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR. Basslines are more audible than on previous songs, suggesting a soft groove. The percussion seems more appropriate than on previous songs, as it has an organic feel.

Bonus track "Parasitic Affection" acts as a closer here. A meandering song that features the most memorable riff of the EP, with a strong Alternative Rock flair. It somewhat builds to a climax but never reaches it, leaving a confusing taste in the mouth. Still, a commendable track that mostly works.

The sound of the whole EP is intentionally lo-fi, fitting the style because mixing is not an issue, aside from the mostly absent bass. The music never gets too heavy and the short length makes it quite easy to listen to for any metalhead who is not afraid of a little experimentation. "This Hollow Land" is a solid EP with plenty to offer in these four tracks.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Unearthing the Hex
2. Bearer of the Ritual Lantern
3. This Hollow Land
4. Parasitic Affection (Bonus Track)
Nattskog – Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Drum Programming
Record Label: AHPN Records


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