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Vargaskri – Hyllningskväden

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 10 January 2022, 6:53 AM

VARGASKRI is a Swedish black metal band. "Hyllningskväden," is their full length debut. As far as debut albums go, "Hyllningskväden," is a solid outing. It has all the hallmarks of black metal but it is loaded with atmosphere. It is also an album that isn't afraid to step outside the box as well, with its inclusion of clean instrumentation and vocals. The production and mix is on the mark too—plenty of raw power but doesn't sound like it was recorded in a dumpster while it was on fire. Each instrument can be heard well enough, which ups the dynamics.

"Återkomstens Kall," opens with a flurry of drumming and the familiar feel of a black metal band running amok, speeding through the song with a focus on the riffs and drums. But the keys, with are cleverly subtle instead of being overbearing with theatrics, make all the difference. They add just enough of an extra layer to the proceedings. The vocals are a throaty shriek, not quite as high pitched as some. The vocalist’s  cadence makes it seem like he is screaming spoken word at times—it sounds great. Around the 3:22 mark, clean guitar and cleans add in a break to their otherwise unbridled fury. It is a nice change, and the album is littered with little moments like this that make the songs spark a little brighter.  With that being said, there aren't many standout moments that had me anxious to go back to multiple times. Every track is good though–therein lies its strength in being an overall journey worth taking.

"Tidens Vind," is highlighted by drums, specifically the cymbal work. It does catch the ears and help bring attention to other areas of the song. Just before the two minute mark, a melodic section sets in and keeps the song flowing smoothly.  On future releases, it would be interesting to see if they could explore these textures more. The guitars on "Stoft Av En Förfluten Tid," are extremely melodic with simple but effective harmonies forming the framework of the song instead of focusing on riffs and distortion.  I actually like this as it reminds me of the original melodeath scene specifically the sound found in Dark Tranquillity's "Gallery"—–not many actually riffs but a lot of lush, Intertwined guitar work.

The final track is the short but rousing instrumental "Jord Sänkes I Havet," that feels like it should have been the intro instead of the last track..but, still, it is a nice little piece. VARGASKRI's "Hyllningskväden," didn't blow my mind but it is a strong debut and a decent first step. I look forward in seeing what the next step will bring.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Återkomstens kall
2. Tidens vind
3. Den tappres frånfälle
4. Hyllningskväden     09:04
5. Stoft av en förfluten tid
6. I envigd kamp
7. Jord sänkes i havet
J. Marklund – Drums, Vocals
L. Westerlund – Guitars, Bass, Keys, Vocals
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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