Bizarrekult – Den Tapte Krigen Review

Two years ago, Bizarrekult dropped out of nowhere with their debut record, Vi Overlevde. Their mix of old-school black and black ‘n’ roll hooked me like a California straw in a sea turtle’s nostril. Vi Overlevde was a wild adventure of varying influences that, while… well… bizarre, worked. With so many elements to cover, the debut record had flow issues, as the listener catapults from one black metal influence to another. Yet, the strong songwriting and the element of surprise made repeated listens easy. Now, the quartet is back with its sophomore effort, Den Tapte Krigen. And with it comes another stunning piece of art. Along those city streets and castle towers tied firmly to the beetle’s back, you’ll find a unique record you didn’t think existed. Locked into this microcosm, you’ll follow this critter through storms of fire and ice and settle into the majestic bliss of the storm’s center. But will those spiny limbs stand strong, or will we be swept from the earth?

On initial listen, I can tell you that Den Tapte Krigen is no Vi Overlevde. Let that sink in as you consider the consequences of that statement. Is that good or bad? For one, Den Tapte Krigen is a tighter album (only eight tracks) with a formalized theme. There’s fluidity from the beginning to the end of this journey. What about those surprise transitions and standout songs, you ask? Not to worry, there are plenty of twists in store. If anything, the surprises are greater on Den Tapte Krigen than anything the band has done before. While the debut hinted at Enslaved-like progressiveness, this new platter uses this influence as its foundation. But Den Tapte Krigen ain’t no Pink Floyd-core. The elements that made up the debut are still alive and well. But, as Bizarrekult matures, so does its songwriting. The result is an album that flows like a stream through a dark forest.

With no elaborate intros or outros, Den Tapte Krigen gets right to work with “Du Lovet Meg.” This slow-building beauty wracks the air with storm clouds of depressing meloblack before the first turn arrives. While the band tinkered with clean vocals on the debut, the opener takes it farther than ever. Like Enslaved’s combination of rasps and cleans, “Du Lovet Meg” gives up the screams for some of the most beautiful, Green Carnation-esque cleans on the album. Though similar in layout, “Midt i Stormen” shows what the band is really capable of with this new direction. Kicking off a headbanging black ‘n’ roll groove, the track bounds along, cutting the guitars and vocals in favor of bass and drums in pure Carpathian Forest fashion. Then, when you least expect it, the song morphs into one of the smoothest atmospheres on the record. We are in the eye. Looking around as the wall of water surrounds us, we stand in awe—not knowing the future of our journey or our lives.

On the opposite spectrum, we have “Kongen” and “Kjære Barn.” These two tracks are vicious additions to the album that relentlessly beat you to death in different ways. “Kjære Barn” uses a slow-moving, old-school black metal hammer that bludgeons you in a regretless manner that reminds me of The Deathtrip’s Deep Drone Master. There’s a brief moment to catch your breath, but it doesn’t last long enough for you to achieve that. The song builds higher and higher—the vocals repeating themselves over and over again before finally giving away to lush, clean vox. But “Kongen” is even mightier. This builder alternates between razor-sharp black metal riffage and clean guitars. Eventually, the tension breaks, and the song marches to its finale as the dagger-like rasp of “Kongen!” repeats in your head.

Den Tapte Krigen is fully bound by these progressive elements, while closer “Himmelen er Utilgjengelig” hints at more to come from the band. It’s by far the most experimental of the bunch and explores every facet of what came before it. The most interesting part of the album is that it’s compressed like a raisin, but you can still hear the details. This begs the question of what it could sound like with a more dynamic master. I can only imagine how much more life would come from this album. Besides that, my only gripe is the ending of “Løslatt.” It’s a fantastic song that hints at a massive build at the end. Instead, it ends abruptly and leaves me wanting more. That said, Den Tapte Krigen is a step up from its predecessor and an album I’ll be listening to all year.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Season of Mist Underground Activists
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: January 27th, 2023

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