Review: “Spurvehauk” by Skarntyde

On Friday the 13th of December, the first demo of the two-man band Skarntyde was released on Bandcamp entitled “Spurvehauk”. Fjelleiner (guitars, drums and vocals) is joined by Gerileme (guitars, bass and keyboards) to celebrate raw and unpolished Black Metal in Norwegian style. All lyrics and the band’s name are Norwegian. “Skarntyde” is the Norwegian term for “poison hemlock”, a poisonous plant that was used in ancient times to execute people sentenced to death – including the Greek philosopher Socrates. “Spurvehauk” is Norwegian for “sparrow hawk”, a bird of prey that is widespread in Europe and Asia. Despite a strong hunt in the 19th century to “protect” songbirds and the strong use of pesticides in the 20th century, which had a negative effect on its reproductive capacity, the bird is no longer considered endangered. On this extended play, Skarntyde accompany the hunting behavior of the sparrow hawk in five conceptual chapters, each one a powerful piece of thunderous Black Metal from the dark and cold of Norway.

Sult” stands for the bird’s hunger, a blast beat laiden adrenaline rush of blistering Black Metal chord progressions accompanied by the harsh gravelly unclean spoken word of Fjelleiner. A blood and thunder affair with a wonderful rise to sickening heights and fall to crushing lows, it’s the mid section when the blast beats drop out that makes it. Dark swirling menace is the atmosphere as the beast hungers. “Fokus” is the search for prey, immediately stepping up from the slower closing of the opening track into a full throttle onslaught of savagery. The to call “Spurvehauk” a demo as the band do does it a disservice as it’s of fine quality and while there are a couple of rough moments in the mix, they go unnoticed to the untrained ear. The leads and drive of “Fokus” make it an unparalleled piece of music that has classic hallmarks. “Jakten” represents the hunt with an eerie haunting melody that builds fire and brimstone as it progresses high above the Norwegian Forrest in search of prey. “Ferskt Blod” is the tale of the prey being hunted down and being eaten. A song which marries together the atmospheric of the hunt with the adrenaline of the hunger, it’s a piece of finely crafted work that leaves no muscle unstrained in it’s darkness. “Fred” is the final chapter in the Brothers Grimm Nordic tale and represents for the peace after the hunger has been satisfied. Bringing in a bold synth sound that adds a wave of darkness to the already heady mix of riffs and blast beats, they give the sound the chill of Winters edge. Again it’s the mid song drop off that makes the track, breaking the relentlessness with a harmonic balancer to the finale [7/10]
Track listing
  1. Sult
  2. Fokus
  3. Jakten
  4. Ferskt Blod
  5. Fred
Spurvehauk” by Skarntyde is out now and available over at bandcamp

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