Alright, enough of the goddamn “V” replacing the “U” in band and song names! It’s dumb, trite, annoying, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! Moving on, Lvcifyre is a blackened death outfit from the U.K. and Svn Eater (irritating isn’t it?) is their sophomore outing. Having never heard them before, I admit to being pleasantly surprised by what they’re offering here, which is a fascinating mix of Norwegian black metal circa 1993 and hyper-riffy, technical and mega-brootal death metal. In a nutshell, their sound is vicious-as-fuck, mean-as-hell and heavy-as-a-two-ton-heavy-thing. You’ll hear traces of early Darkthrone, Behemoth, Nile, Immolation and Deathspell Omega in a SINGLE SONG, all stitched together with the power of the almighty riff (and duct tape and black stuff). It showcases some impressive technicality, but always remains as raw and awful as a simultaneous tire fire/cesspool explosion in a Penn Station restroom. Does this have your complete attention yet?
In a deliberate attempt to be listener unfriendly and trve (that one doesn’t count), they kick things off with their longest, weirdest song: the nine minute plus “Night Sea Sorcery,” which is bathed in the brackish waters of early Darkthrone, and the slow, dirgy and oh-so-evil beginning cannot help but remind of their minor classic, “Kathaarian Life Code.” The subhuman cackles and discordant, almost aimless riffs eventually lurch into a clunky, speedy mush with offbeat vocals reminiscent of vintage Mayhem. It’s a strange composition and probably would have been better as a two or three-minute intro rather than a nine minute opener.
Just as you’re convinced this is an homage to all things Norway and church arson, the entire paradigm implodes as “Calicem Obscurm” blasts out with such riff-mongering ferocity, it’ll make you take a step back and blink. The fret-work is utterly chaotic and suffocating as they run patterns and scales up and down your brain like a rusty pizza cutter. The vocals swerve back and forth from death roars to black croaks in a way that suggests schizophrenia and they leave no space whatsoever to retreat and catch one’s breath. The riffs keep flying on “Liber Lilith” and you can detect a host of influences from the black and death universes as the music blasts you into ass dust. The title track is a swirling blastastrophy of high-speed eardrum abuse and old Sodom vocals and by now, the average person will be wondering what nightmare they stumbled into.
The rest of Svn Eater is equally disruptive and jarring, with no effort made to accommodate novel concepts like melody. As a minor concession, there’s an enjoyably atonal solo at 2:35 of “In Fornication Waters” (yuck), some wild soloing amid a whole lot of crashing and bashing on “The Fiery Spheres of the Seven,” and some odd, quasi-neo-classical noodling during “Fyre Made Flesh.”
Svn Eater is all about the riffs and T. Chaos and Dictator throw themselves into it with lusty abandon. This rivals the last Inquisition opus for most slicing, slashing riffs and if you heard that beast, you know that’s saying something. While all the riffs are savage, many are dexterous, technical and wickedly fast. Chaos’s vocals are also quite effective, be they the black or death variety and he sounds like he fell off the crazyhouse nutwagon just in time to lay down his frothing vocal tracks. Big kudos are also due Menthor (Enthroned, Nightbringer) for his bestial performance on the kit. He’s called on to provide a maelstrom of noise and blasts and a maelstrom he doth deliver.
Because the music is so savage and unforgiving, the nearly 50 minute run time makes for an arduous listen and by the 3/4 mark, I needed some TLC, which was most assuredly not forthcoming from these callous bastards. Still, there’s no real filler apart from the overlong, quirky opener. Sound-wise, it walks the line between shitty low-fi and intentionally murky, and though I struggled at times to hear the riffs amid the blasts and croaks, I can’t imagine this scabby filth having a cleaner mix.
Svn Eater is a refreshingly brutal and horrific dose of blackened death and while some bands merely bathe in the sun, these guys eat it, which is WAY more metal! I’m almost prepared to forgive them their flagrant “V” abuse. Almost.