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Svartahrid - "Malicious Pride" (CD)

Svartahrid - "Malicious Pride" CD cover image

"Malicious Pride" track listing:

1. Sons of Mine
2. Death to All!
3. Malicious Pride
4. The Coven
5. Hellbound
6. Kvestet
7. Freezing Sorrow
8. Nivlheim
9. Scortched
10. Likbaal

Reviewed by on July 8, 2009

"The opening riff of the album from “Sons of Mine” makes it very clear that this will be a pure black metal album."

Formed in 1994 in Norway, Svartahrid play stripped down, old school black metal. 2008’s “Malicious Pride” is the band’s fourth studio album. This line up features Istar on guitar/vocals, NidGrim on bass and Farn on drums.

The artwork is simple. A picture of a snow covered mountain top with incoming storm clouds surrounding it. The music certainly fits this atmosphere. The back album art features a picture of the band and surprisingly none of them were wearing corpse paint. Don’t let that fool you, because these guys are definitely black metal. The lyrics are about war, death, hell and despair. They're not the most poetic and are sometimes a bit corny, but typical of the genre.

Stylistically, the opening riff of the album from “Sons of Mine” makes it very clear that this is a pure black metal album. The riffs are non-palm muted, single notes played tremolo style with some strummed or arpeggiated minor and inverted chords thrown in. The guitar work overall isn’t jaw dropping and is fairly basic. There are only a few brief solos on the entire album. The vocals are the standard black metal high raspy, monotone growl with a few lower ones thrown in occasionally. Some synthesized elements are used as background backing chords to help create an even more eerie and desolate environment. Farn relentlessly delivers an impressive drumming assault, while the bass is, for the most part, inaudible. The production is very rough, but given the style of the music, rough production is expected. However, the production is not so horrid that the music is not listenable because of it; the mix is actually pretty good.

Musically, there isn’t much variety here. Each song is extremely minor, high paced, crushing black metal. Satyricon comes to mind as a recognizable influence. If I didn’t have a track listing, I would’ve thought the album was one long song. Each song seems to have a “breakdown” if you will - a slower section with a some bends - and each one is seemingly the same. There’s also a rough solo present in “The Coven,” “Nivlheim” and “Likbaal.” There are sections where the tremolo picked riffs are melodic, such as in “Death to All!” There is also a section in “Malicious Pride” akin to Amon Amarth, in the tremolo melodic inversion riff.

The song “Scortched” begins with an uptempo palm-muted-power chord riff and then going into a riff that is reminiscent to the intro riff of Slayer’s “Live Undead,” which I enjoyed. “Scortched” is probably the heaviest song on the album and one of my favorites.

All in all, “Malicious Pride” is pretty solid, straight forward black metal album. If black metal is your thing, I would recommend this album for you to check out.

Highs: Super minor, relentless black metal, "Scortched," rough but well-mixed production.

Lows: Little variety between songs.

Bottom line: If black metal is your calling, then this album is for you.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)