Sunday, December 3, 2017

Single Review: MINNERIKET Tro, håp og kjærlighet

Tro, håp og kjærlighet
Single from their upcoming full length Anima Sola to be released January 2018
Single Release Date: December 3, 2017, Akslen Black Art Records
I remember when “True Norwegian Black Metal” was the first of many band-coined slogans to appear over the next twenty five years. I’ve heard many but I have to admit “Norwegian Romantic Black Metal” has a new kind of ring to it. It could be wishful thinking on my part to keep coming across new ideas in extreme metal, but then again I’m still discovering bands that push outward for new concepts that were either missed or waiting to be found somewhere down the line. I still have a sneaking suspicion they haven’t all been found yet. It’s only been two years since Stein Akslen the creative force behind Minnkerket released his debut full length Vargtimen, and he has remained persistent in releasing albums at the rate of one per year, plus advance singles and a full Burzum tribute album besides. In case you hadn’t guessed, Akslen himself is from Norway and the new single he composed for a new recording for next month is an old crypt in a Scandinavian cemetery that was awaiting its moment of being opened since 1992 or so. The fuzzy distorted guitars you heard from Darkthrone and Sathyricon long ago are similarly delivered here, and in terms of song structure there are moments calling to mind the chord progressions Count Grishnackh wrote into his solo material. The romantic edge establishing the differences between those bands and this solo project appears as a lone, melancholy guitar presenting a longing mood and resonating somewhat like goth music. This is a somber moment but not one that is too creepy or evil sounding. It speaks more of lost love and the desire to regain it after an absence that lasted too many centuries rather than seeking revenge for past atrocities. In the promotional video made for the single, a lone figure walks through a graveyard and there is a forlorn air about him. The scenes that follow when the song kicks in are equally profound as he appears as a spirit among woods and tombstones while lyrics scroll line by line. The title of this song translated is Faith, Hope and Love but don’t let this fool you; what Akslen intends to say here is not what it seems. He plays each instrument in this song in addition to handling the vocals; note his bloodcurdling screams and try to decide how he mastered the art of communicating the song’s anguish though his voice, This is a followup to another pre-album single released on October 30, An All Too Human Heart, which isn’t too shabby either. Tro, håp og kjærlighet was mastered by Steve Nagasaki at Nagasaki Sound, Christophe Szpajdel (logo) and Anna Marine collaborated on the single’s cover and Minneriket can be heard on Bandcamp and Youtube. -Dave Wolff

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