Svart Records Roundup: Superfjord, Skepticism & Throat
Dive in for three very different records from one the bestest record labels of our times.
Superfjord – All Will Be Golden
September 21st | McNultycore
On their second album, Superfjord takes their sound to the next level. Their instrumental prog rock flails between the meditative qualities of Spiritualized and the jazz-influenced outlook of caravan and the Canterbury Scene, but where on It Is Dark, But I have This Jewel the Coltrane cover lead to find his influence, on All Will Be Golden this seems to have been exchanged into Zappaisms – mayhaps courtesy of last year’s Peaches en Regalia -single. Hints of psychedelic britpop lie on top of their concoction and airy, bright lead guitars and percussion sturdify the sound not entirely dissimilar to earlier Santana, while the wind instruments deepen the sound. All Will Be Golden isn’t strictly speaking an instrumental album anymore, as harmonic chants and refrains are utilized as vocals, adding yet another layer to their now very contemplative approach. Neither the synth-whistling progpop nor the end-half’s hypnotic journey eastward are the kind of music that I spend much time with, but I have found myself greatly enjoying this record – even if it often tends to drift into the background.
Skepticism – Stormcrowfleet
October 26th | Funeral Doom
Best known as one of the very first Funeral doom bands, Skepticism has been in the game for quite a time and their classic debut, Stormcrowfleet has been waiting to be re-released for what seems like an eternity, in addition it’s also been remastered. As this new edition of Stormcrowfleet is slightly longer than the original – it adds the original acoustic introduction to “The Gallant Crow” cut from the original release – first instinct would be the rate it even better than the original. However, whereas the original mix saw the muddied guitars warped towards a lasersludge sound that always drew comparison to Thergothon in my mind, the new remaster brings them up to the surface and occasionally offers brief glimpses into their thinness. Likewise the loud and clear organs now sound more akin to Ordeal than the originals. It took me a good few spins to even get used to the new sound and a few more to like it but in the end I do think it’s a good, alternative sound for the record. Mostly unnecessary though, as it doesn’t really seem to reveal any new elements from the music or add anything to a classic record, if, on the other hand, don’t much detract it either – the complaints about ambiguity in it’s mix have always been more bickering than reasonable. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Stromcrowfleet as an album to someone who wasn’t at least a little into funeral doom already though, as it offers little else than an endless, atmospheric trudge through heaviest of waters, with only the unending howl of the organs to guide you. A masterpiece in it’s own right, to this day hardly ever has it been surpassed.
Throat – Bareback
August 30th | Noise-Ass Rock
Though Throat has released several smaller releases, Bareback is only their second full-length album. And if All Will Be Golden was music pleasant to listen to, even if you were not a fan of the style then Bareback will hardly be a pleasant experience, even for fans. The long, calm opening of “Safe Unsound” lulls into a false comfort, as the vocalist channels Vulture Indutries’ Bjornar Nilsen, albeit with far more restraint, by the end, however, the entire song has become enveloped in the clang of metallic sheets coiling into each other. Occasionally flirting with early Neurosis, elsewhere pulling from Circle, even the most straightforward and typical rockers – “No Hard Shoulders”, “Recut” or personal favourite “Bone Strike” are hardly direct, easy or typical of anything else than Throat’s sense of style and the album is actually divided in two by the industrial noise of “Shortage” where the band seems to recall the harsher hours of Coil. Despite occasionally feeling like they’ve patched the songs together from a little too wide a variety of influences, Bareback is thoroughly captivating, and some of the best noise rock from the last few years.