Review: “Alt Skal Svinne Hen…” by Likheim

Not only is “Alt Skal Svinne Hen…” the debut EP of Likheim but also the very first released from Underground Kvlt Records, a new subsidiary of the infamous Odium Records, making it an intriguing prospect without even having heard a note. For logic dictates that if you’re going to the lengths of creating a new label and announcing it with the release of a record, it has to have something about it worth shouting about. The concept of this project has been gestating in the mind of vocalist, creative director and driving force Gretn for almost two decades before inspired by André Hrafn Bendigtsen, he called upon the assistance of Polish guitarist Umarlak (Eradication) and bassist Gamle Erik (Carpathian Forest, Svarttjern) to bring to life his nightmarish vision…

…and that vision is one of chilling storm of Black Metal from the desolate wastelands of Norway that find Gretn caught screaming in the heart of a blizzard. While no drummer is officially named there is no doubting that there is a beast behind the kit, driving the music forward with restless and relentless drive with a quartet of powerhouse performances that underpin the epic grandeur of these dark cuts as they roar into life. “Alt Skal Svinne Hen…” maybe billed as raw, which it is in the emotional and abrasive sense of the word but not in the actual finish, this is not the kind of Black Metal demo that sounds like it’s been recorded in a dark, dank basement torcher chamber hell. Gamle Erik is credited as a multi instrumentalist, handling bass, synths, samples and additional lead guitars in and deserves a lot of credit here for the way he has helped piece this together, the buried sample in “Smerte” (or “Pain“) adding that moment of chilling atmosphere that brings home the cruel nature of the beast. The dark melody that introduces “Takens Kall” (or “Cold Of The Fog“) is stunningly bleak before the band go hell for leather with a whirlwind of percussive battery, building the mountain with melancholic and yet abrasive riffs and evoking powerful emotions, even for those who do not speak the native language. Listening to these songs is like watching a gripping horror film about a sole survivor of a plane crash wondering in the snow covered wilderness, seeking shelter and warmth and finding none. The frostbitten fury constantly raging within and matching that of the oncoming storm. For the most part Gretn sticks to unclean growls but during “Stormen” (or “The Storm“) which has a sumptuous face melting solo there are some odd strained clean moments that seem out of place in the context. Fortunately they grow on you like barnacles over multiple listens. An impressive first endeavour from a seasoned collective, it is the kind of foundation that will stand them well in times to come [7.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Alt Skal Svinne Hen…
  2. Smerte
  3. Takens Kall
  4. Stormen

Alt Skal Svinne Hen…” by Likheim is out 30th May 2022 via Underground Kvlt Records

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