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On disc: Arckanum

þþþþþþþþþþþ - Carsten Bahr - 8 stars
Sviga L - Mike Thompson - 8 stars

Sviga L

Sviga L
(Regain Records - 2010)

Last year Arckanum released þþþþþþþþþþþ, an album that was a superlative example of black metal. This year Shamaatae, the sole member, has signed a deal with Regain Records and has a new album out; Sviga L.
I'll admit the only album I have heard by Arckanum is þþþþþþþþþþþ, but I was blown away by it as it was undoubtedly one of the best black metal albums of 2009. Sviga L is rather a different specimen. Shamaatae has said that he does not want to create the same album over and over again and what this means is that you must not expect part two of þþþþþþþþþþþ.
The production of Sviga L is not as clear as the previous album. However, it is still clear enough for the casual listener to not dismiss this as under-produced black metal. The last song Rk has, for some reason, a much clearer production than the rest of the album. No idea why this is but it does make the song seem a little out of place.
The eight songs on this album all vary in pace and tone, showing the diversity of Shamaatae as a songwriter. Undoubtedly my favorite is the instrumental In Flva Felr which launches into a repetitive driving riff about halfway through that just grabbed me and refused to let me go until my neck was threatening to snap! In Shamaatae's own words he his own style is "dirty & thrashing" and this shows through on Sviga L, an album crammed full of extremely thrashy riffs.
This is an album that all Arckanum fans should enjoy as it is a continuation of Shamaatae's sound but approached from a slightly different angle to the previous album. Granted, its not quite up to the same high standard as þþþþþþþþþþþ, but its still a great listen that all black metal fans should appreciate. The main criticism is the odd production leap on the final track which is about the only thing that makes an otherwise dull acoustic track stand out. That aside I thoroughly enjoyed this one and look forward to hearing where Shamaatae takes us next on his dark musical journey.

8 stars

Mike Thompson



(Debemur Morti - 2009)

Arckanum is a project of the Swedish musician Johan Lahger alias Shamaatae. This guy was the drummer of Conquest and Grotesque - and he founded Arckanum in 1997. The album title is showing old Islandic letters and every single song on the album starts with this letter - and is presented in a Swedish dialect. Musically Arckanum presents fast black metal with lots of blast attacks, but also some mid-paced tracks and þrkyn which is more rock. Quite simple and straight are the first tracks - like the opener þrhati as well as þann Svarts and þyrpas Ulfar. The songs offer every thing you can ask for when it comes to fast old school black metal - and like all songs they create a dark, threatening atmosphere. Majestic sounds steam roll you at þ Kmu Niflstormum and show that they can do more then just playing fast. The album has a clear sound which gives space to every instrument and creates a pitch black atmosphere. The album was recorded at Stage One Studio with producer Andy Classen who is known for his powerful productions. Fans of old Bathory, Burzum and Darkthrone should check out Arckanum! Or everybody who is into the Swedish variety of old school black metal should give it a try. Strong album which is one of the highlights in 2009 in the black metal genre!

8 stars

Carsten Bahr
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)


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