Alverg - Elde

9 songs
59:57 minutes
***** ***


Black metal is a kind of music that becomes very tiresome for me whenever it tries to innovate itself. It’s the Norwegian sound of the early Nineties that defined the genre for me: freezing cold guitars, unrelenting drum beats, hardly any bass notes and vocals that were so full of misanthropy that you wanted to lock yourself in your flat and never get out again. Later on, some bands thought they had to add symphonic grandeur, and the whole endeavour became kind of pointless. Alverg are a Norwegian duo that sings in their native tongue, and although they allow for melodies to creep into their songwriting, their basic approach is so basic that they can be labelled an old school black metal band with a clear conscience.

Founded in 2002, they recorded soon thereafter a demo, then went on hiatus. It wasn’t until 2007 that they got back together. Elde is hence their debut album, and at that it is a strong statement. The nine songs take up an entire hour playing time, with no track shorter than five minutes, and the closing Towards The Kingdom Of Alverg being even nearly ten minutes long. A few discreet folk elements show up here and there, but apart from that, Alverg offer a primeval soup full of shrieking guitar riffs, pounding and shattering drums, evil vocals that are contrasted by actually beautiful guitar melodies that are delivered with a raw relentlessness that prevents them from sounding too pretty.

Although you will have to look really hard to find anything original here, the two musicians act with such a determined authenticity to you can’t help yourself but feeling aroused by their take at this genre which seemingly always feels most convincing when it comes from their native Norway. If you think Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir have sold out a genre that was always destined to remain underground, Alverg may give you hope that black metal can nowadays still keep its originally intended meanness, yet without ever neglecting to inject a necessary amount of melody awareness to prevent the whole affair from becoming trite. This is the perfect soundtrack for the beginning cold season.

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