The Pitch: German black metal duo Skognatt returns, new drummer in tow, with a new black metal opus to open your heart to the darkness.
What I Like: When we last left Skognatt in 2016, I described their sound as cold enough to warrant wearing a sweater. Ancient Wisdom takes things to a different aesthetic while maintaining their strengths as a black metal band. This album has more of an indoor feel; and one that broadens the scope of their sound regionally. Tracks like "World Apart" have me drawing comparisons to Cult of Fire and Death Karma, what with the Eastern-sounding acoustic riffs and meditative atmosphere. This is an album clearly written in the company of face-painted Gurus in some secluded Buddhist or Hindu temple. The doomy black metal is plenty grim, and the harsh, raspy vocals carry plenty of contempt, but there's a certain peacefulness that permeates the air. Vocalist Danijel has also promised that having drummer Gerileme this time around makes for a more "organic" sound, and in this he is 100% correct. I also love the haunting backup chants on "Dark Star."
Critiques: Those that know me know that I prefer my black metal on the faster side. There are definitely some parts of this album that felt a little too slowed down. But overall, the pacing works well and the album wouldn't feel nearly as dynamic or mysterious without the ups and downs. I might just trim a few seconds here and there to keep things moving.
The Verdict: Ancient Wisdom is a big step forward for Skognatt and an above average release within the larger black metal genre. I appreciate the memorable melodies, multi-regional aesthetic, and strong dynamics. This is a band interested in pressing forward, and it's exciting to witness in real time.
Flight's Fav's: World Apart, Ancient Wisdom, Fallen + Outro
-Review by FlightOfIcarus
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