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Svart - "Forlorad" (CD)

Svart - "Forlorad" CD cover image

"Forlorad" track listing:

1. Förlorad I (14:30)
2. Förlorad II (20:30)
3. Förlorad III (39:36)

Reviewed by on September 3, 2010

"Anyone interested in taking the journey the album offers had better pack heavy, because they’re about to drift through an hour and 15 minutes of lingering guitar chords and echoing sounds."

Who ever said music needs to fly at warp speed and batter down everything in its path to be metal? There’s a long tradition of slow moving, heavily atmospheric metal, and Svart has added another entry to that category with “Förlorad.” Anyone interested in taking the journey the album offers had better pack heavy, because they’re about to drift through an hour and 15 minutes of lingering guitar chords and echoing sounds.

Svart is a Swedish act consisting only of sole member Draug, who handles all vocals and instruments. The project is categorized as black metal, and while “Förlorad” is built on a base of that style, it isn’t actually black metal in the traditional sense of the term. The best way to describe the deliberate and measured pace of the music would be to take the design behind funeral doom, distort it with heavy ambience, and then blend it all together with melancholy black metal.

The first track, which is also the shortest, is nearly 15 minutes long. To give an idea of how the funeral doom aspects are worked into the music, the song doesn’t bring in drums for a full 10 minutes. The “opening” 10 minutes are composed of building, echoing guitar sounds working their way ever deeper into the listener’s skull. Rather than being heavy or inducing head banging, the guitar work on the first track only exists to set a depressing tone.

“Förlorad II” is significantly heavier, throwing distortion on the guitars and finally letting loose with the black metal screams. Oddly the vocals there seem a little out of place. After more than half an hour passes by without vocals, the presence of actual lyrics trying to tell a story or get across an idea is a little jarring. The best parts are when the screams are simply long howls of torment, as they fit the flowing, all-encompassing nature of the music much better.

At nearly forty minutes in length, “Förlorad III” admittedly drags a bit. It combines the elements in the first two songs skillfully, but it’s hard to keep interest running that long while still continuing the same repeating guitar riff. Anyone who can get lost in the sounds and just flow with the music will probably get more out of it than anyone actively trying to dissect the song and examine each individual component.

“Förlorad” is very much a lazy current that forces the audience to just go with the flow and let the music take over, as opposed to a raging river of sound that would normally be expected in black metal. It takes a specific mindset and mood to really get into the album, but once that mindset is reached the songs click and become well worth the time.

Highs: Excellent mix of ambience and slow moving black metal.

Lows: Hard to get into if you aren't in the right mindset due to the music's repetitive nature.

Bottom line: A deliberately paced album consisting of a mix of funeral doom, ambient, and melancholy black metal.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)