Bizarrekult – Vi Overlevde Review

I’ve been sitting on this one for some time. Label it black metal and give it enchanting artwork, and Madam X is all over it. Even before passing it over to me for review, she was pre-ordering the vinyl. And for good reason. On a white backdrop, that tree-covered moose walking on mountains is one of the more original album covers of the year. But the artwork isn’t the only good part of the album. Under that mysterious cover lies a thick slab of Norwegian black metal. While it borrows from pioneers of the sound, Bizarrekult‘s debut record mixes and matches uniquely. At times, Vi Overlevde can deliver trebly, old-school Darkthrone or skull-fucking Gorgoroth. Other times, it’ll piss and shit Nattefrost and Carpathian Forest or captivate you with its Enslaved-like melodics. Vi Overlevde is a clever combination of black metal influences whose chill is large enough to connect Norway to Russia.

After completing my initial spin of Vi Overlevde, I noticed the creepy, instrumental intro/outro tracks of the song. These ghostly, wispy pieces make me think of the intros from the first few Bathory albums.1 It’s a subtle thing, but it draws you into the album and releases you when it’s done. But, have no fear, Vi Overlevde doesn’t consist of eleven instrumental tracks. After opener “I Mørket,” things get bitchin’. The next thing I notice from the follow-up track, “For 1000 År Siden,” is the drums. They are far more impressive than your typical black metal outfit. And it’s like sledgehammers instead of sticks wail on them. “For 1000 År Siden” sets the stage with its chaos while introducing you to the band’s melodic side.

The gnarlier side of Bizarrekult definitely comes from the tracks with Carpathian Forest vibes. Case in point: the back-to-back “Ut i Skogen” and “Alt er Bortkastet.” The former is a simple ditty harking back to the big days of Norwegian black metal. Yet, it has that prominent bass work of CF and Tsjuder. But, even with its disgusting character, it still has some calming moments. “Alt er Bortkastet,” on the other hand, has a straightforward CF approach. You won’t find anything flashy or original, but it delivers the goods.

“Siste Ord” is another with those CF vibes. Along with some clever basslines, the vocals even use effects like those on Carpathian Forest‘s Defending the Throne of Evil. But “Siste Ord” is the epic of the disc. It has hills and valleys that stitch together sinister with allure. We’ve talked about the beast, but the beauty comes in the way of Alcestian sweetness. “Skrik i Tomhet” another that tests the waters. After getting started with a fairly traditional black metal sound, things get interesting. Especially when the band combines the cleans with the rasps to deliver some tasty Enslaved-esque arrangments. And though it’s only three minutes in length, “Skrik i Tomhet” still manages to introduce something interesting for the finale. In this case, voice and drum-emphasized attacks remind me of Watain‘s Sworn to the Dark.

But Vi Overlevde isn’t without its oddities. Though those don’t upset me, even if they do fuck with the flow a bit. At the beginning, “I Trygge Hender” follows suit to its compatriot, “Alt er Bortkastet.” Thankfully, it doesn’t fully match its companion, or the album’s middle would be predictable. And predictable “I Trygge Hender” is not. The back-half falls away to female vox, distant guitar sustains, and lounge-styled cymbal raps. Then it’s followed by a two-and-a-half-minute instrumental that sounds like something from Blade Runner. Add in album compression,2 and Vi Overlevde is a very good album that could have been great. That said, I love the album, and I can’t ignore the band’s potential.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Petrichor
Websites: bizarrekult.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/bizarrekult
Releases Worldwide: July 2nd, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The outros, too, if you own remastered versions of The Return…… and Under the Sign of the Black Mark.
  2. It’s unfair to assign it a DR5 when, in reality, the instrumental opener and closer are DR10/11, and the rest of the album is DR4.
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