Towards the Ultimate

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Band Name Svarttjern
Album Name Towards the Ultimate
Type Album
Erscheinungsdatum 25 September 2011
Musik GenreBrutal Black
Mitglieder die dieses Album besitzen24

Tracklist

1. Breathing Soil 05:36
2. Hellig Jord 04:34
3. Superior Growth 05:12
4. Aroused Self-extinction 04:25
5. I Am the Path Part II 04:39
6. Desolate Predictions 03:57
7. Unmasked Violation of Life 04:43
8. Through Madness and Sanity I Am 03:31
9. For What Blooms Without Lust 04:38
Total playing time : 41:15


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Review @ miniradman

20 September 2011

When Two Of The Best Black Metal Scenes Collide

Svarttjern is a black metal from the home of the True Norwegian Black MetalNorway (obviously). Norway, as many people know, has one of the best, if not THE best black metal scene ever. Bands like Immortal, Ulver, Burzum, Mayhem, Taake and many more bands roam this scene. But the question is if Svarttjern can hold their head high amongst their Norwegian counter parts. Svarttjern does have one advantage and that is they are of a different style to everyone else in Norway, but they match quiet well up with the more “brutal” side of things. So the only way to summarise this bands sound, would be to say that they are a perfect mix of Norway’s dark and satanic atmosphere and Sweden’s more brutal and modern sound. This already seems like one hell of an album and its not surprising that Svarttjern’s popularity skyrocketed since their first album Misanthropic Path of Madness.

Just to give an idea of what Svarttjern’s sound is like, I’ll just quickly go into a little more detail about the dark/brutal stuff in their music. As many people know, Norway is renowned for having the darkest, most satanic black metal bands. They seem to be a lot more serious than their European and American counterparts. And who can forget the super satanic bands that have come out the country in the first place such as Mayhem, Burzum and Gorgoroth (Burzum might not be a satanic but he was still evil). This is basically the background for Towards the Ultimate, it has that very dark, evil, sinister feeling behind the music without it being too cheesy. While on the topic of “cheesy” black metal, let’s move on to their more modern side, the Swedish side. Now there will probably be a lot of hate mail in my inbox after I publish this but it seems like the Swedish style of black metal seems like a good way of describing the speed and pace of the music. Marduk, we all know they are super fast, well I guess you could say that the characteristics of Svarttjern’s sound in Towards the Ultimate can compared to Marduk’s sound between 1999 and 2003. It was probably the first thing that came to mind when I first heard this album. The best thing that I like about Svarttjern is that they meet the dark, satanic, evil side of Norwegian black metal and the more brutal, modernized Swedish black metal characteristic half way. The result of these two magnificent forms of black metal is Svarttjern.

Now judging by what I’ve just read, its safe to assume that these guys play with more speed and brutality than brains. Never assume anything because that inference is totally wrong (assuming you inferred what I had just said). Another thing that is excellent about the black metal in Towards the Ultimate is that it’s far more melodic than many other black metal bands out there. They have far more structure in their music than Marduk ever had and that is what makes them stand head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. They really have put a lot of thought when writing this album because I don’t think I have heard of a band that has executed melodic black metal this well. And the best thing about it, is that there are no symphonic elements involved. Its just pure, dark, evil black metal the way it was suppose to be.

Although this Towards the Ultimate is full of high paced black metal, like Marduk (later releases) they have also included some slower passages in their music. This means that they don’t have to rely on any symphonic or effects to enhance their music. Because first of all they don’t need it and secondly, this way they can display how much of a band they are. The most common mistake made my melodic black metal bands is that they like to hide behind some random sounds they have thrown into the music to “make it sound better” (whether it’s an orchestra or a chime in the background). Also it might enhance their sound in some cases, it doesn’t really tell the listener how good of a black metal band they are, more like how good the orchestra in the background can play. These “slow” parts that I’ve mentioned aren’t dead slow either, there are just enough to keep the music alive and the momentum going. Also, it stops the music from getting repetitive but I don’t think Svarttjern’s sound will get boring anyway but that’s just there as a failsafe I guess.

Blast beats, who loves them? Well the blast beats in this album are absolutely top notch are and sure to satisfy any blast beat junkie’s hunger for blast beats. The drummer here is as fast as Marduk’s drummer so already these guys are worth listening to. But just like the rest of Svarttjern’s music, the drumming also has some kind of musical structure contained within. It’s not all just mindless bashing of the drums, which is something that no one could get tired of. But at the same time, there is as sense that there is so much energy packed into the drumming and I think the only word to describe such a phenomena is awesome. I think the sheer awesomeness of the drumming itself is enough to give Towards the Ultimate a go.

Once I got deeper into this album, a final element was introduced into my ears and it was something that made this one of the best black metal albums I have ever heard. The guitars, they sounded awfully folky and paganish, and there was one band that came straight into my mind as soon as these parts hit me, Taake. Not many bands anywhere in the world can recreate the style of atmosphere that Taake creates, but I’m not saying that Svarttjern is a cheap rip off of Taake but the edition of a Taakeish sound in their music just makes an already awesome black metal album better.

Overall, Towards the Ultimate has to be one of the best black metal albums I have ever heard. I have never heard any other band combine the darkness of satanic Norwegian black metal with the brutality of Swedish black metal. Not to mention how well they have executed and delivered this music to the listener. Words cannot fully describe how great this album was because there was absolutely nothing that was flawed. The production and the execution of the music was great, but I think that the only thing that this album hasn’t done is revolutionized the genre, but its getting close. I recommend Towards the Ultimate to any black metal fan out there, it’s worth it. Check out the track Breathing Soil because it is a nice little summary of what to expect in the rest of the album, which is also awesome. I anticipate big things to come from Svarttjern in the next few years after this has been released because if it gets to the right people, Svarttjern could be the biggest, badest black metal band ever. I give Svarttjern’s Towards the Ultimate a 19/20.

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miniradman - 21 September 2011: Yeah man, I highly recommend it. This album won't dissapoint
Mercenarion - 21 September 2011: Can't wait to hear the whole album.
miniradman - 21 September 2011: only 4 more days mate! ;)
Demogorefest - 27 Oktober 2011: this album rules, I was highly impressed with their last full length album too. So I'm not too surprised that Towards the ultimate is every bit as good as their first album
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Review @ heavymetaltribune

27 Februar 2012

more melodic approach

Svarttjern was a chance encounter after discovering Ragnarok back in 2010 with the latter's album, Collectors of the King and the impressive vocal work of HansFyrste on the album. Listening to Svarttjern's 2009 debut full length release Misanthropic Path of Madness also left a deep impression, with the aggressive style of Norwegian black metal that was presented on the album, resulting in the keen awaiting of the band's new album, Towards the Ultimate, despite the cheesy sounding album title.

A haunting whisper greets the listener as the album opens with Breathing Soil, slowly building up that spine-tingling atmosphere and without warning the band begins their onslaught and while the guitar tone, the blast beats of Grimdun and the vocals of HansFyrste are immediately recognisable, one can't help but notice the more melodic direction that the band has taken, like a more trigger-happy version of Pestilential Shadows, with the somewhat depressive melodies in the riffs. HansFyrste's vocals, despite that usual gruff quality, has also adopted a somewhat more desolate style, with a tinge of desperation present in his vocal deliveries, making the songs on the album have a more sincere feel to them.

On top of the more melodic direction, there is an increased focus on the atmosphere in the music as well. While Misanthropic Path of Madness had a somewhat hollow feel to the music, Towards the Ultimate sees the band layering multiple guitars together to create a dense atmosphere, shrouding the music in a thick fog, giving the songs on Towards the Ultimate a fuller sound compared to its predecessor. And it is these factors that are a mark of the maturation in the band's songwriting, and instead of simply presenting a speed fest to listeners, the decision to go for a slower buildup also proves to be effective in its own way. That said though, the aggressive and more confrontational side of Svarttjern is still present, as evident on tracks like Hellig Jord and Superior Growth, which despite lacking the speed of the older materials sees the band , making up for it with heaviness with the punishing hits on the skins by Grimdun. Songs like I am the Path Part II even manages to retain some of that savage touch to the music, bringing fans of the band back to familiar ground.

Despite my personal preference for Misanthropic Path of Madness to Towards the Ultimate, this album has managed to display Svarttjern's growth as a band and as songwriters, with the more melodic approach to their brand of black metal, yet managing to retain that charm that gravitated me towards the band in the first place. The balanced style on Towards the Ultimate would ensure that old fans are not alienated, while at the same time drawing in new fans to the band.

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