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Skogen - Skuggorna Kallar

Label: Nordvis
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/10

Dark, Akerfeldtian, Blackened Metal melodies abound on Skogen’s 2018 full-length, “Skuggorna Kallar.” It’s a real gift. They get into these fantastic, lush, epic, soaring stretches that just stop you in your tracks to listen. These moments are primarily either instrumental, or are behind the powerful clean vocals - - utilizing heavy, electric guitars, keys, or occasional acoustic arpeggios.


The Skogen guys are Swedes, if the album and band name weren’t dead giveaways. They get tons of kudos for mixing it up, with some songs in Swedish, as well as some in English. As an English-speaking listener, the unfamiliar Swedish words lend an extra air of magic and grandeur.
Countering the ascendant, however, is a glut of measures of guttural, Black Metal vocals, that are far less effective than the rest of the music. These do subtract, rather than add. I found myself enduring these parts, waiting for the grandeur of the other parts to return. If it works for you, then this album should be a masterpiece. Personally, I have an appreciation for some of the great artists that have combined clean and growled voices in the past - - a number of them also hail from Sweden - - but Skogen’s harsh vocals just don’t work for me, not in the context of the rest of their sound. No matter, because this album is still full of rewards for all kinds of listeners.
All of the above can be heard right out of the gate, on the excellent first track, “Det Nordiska Mörkret,” which opens up majestically, taking us through darkly beautiful realms, with occasional forays into the harsh and guttural. My other favorite may be “Frostland,” but “The Funeral” also should be heard from start to finish. This song unto itself is an incredible journey.
I can’t direct you away from any song on “Skuggorna Kallar,” because each of them have sections of rust and of lustre. Some are more gratifying than others, but as a whole, the album is solid. You’ll be glad to have undertaken the listen.

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