Revelations of the Red Sword is the sophomore LP effort by the Icelandic blasphemers Svartidauði. The album is to be released on December 3rd on Ván Records, coming six years after the very celebrated Flesh Cathedral. Note that this Satanic Vikings have not been idling, with three EPs released in between both albums, each of them featuring two original compositions.
Flesh Cathedral is comprised by four megalithic compositions, which make up the almost hour-long record (a concept recently replicated by Tchornobog in their monster of a debut album). In Revelations Svartidauði settled for more traditional song lengths, with exception of the last two tracks that still clock around ten-minutes. Svartidauði builds upon the avant-garde-ish, tempo-twisted black metal sound pioneered by Deathspell Omega. That comparison might come as a red flag for many, as a horde of DsO lesser imitations have recently flooded the extreme metal market. So, nowadays, if a band decides to venture down that path, they must be up to an extra challenge, in order to stand out from that madding crowd. Svartidauði’s biggest challenge in this new album was to consolidate their seat in the experimental black metal’s Asgard – and they have passed it with distinction!
Revelations’ first four songs are the ‘short’ ones. They represent and epitomize the experiences that the Icelanders presented in the previous three EPs. For those who didn’t skip their ‘minor’ releases, there’s some satisfaction to be drawn out of them. Since Svartidauði’s journey into the formula of conciseness sounds, so far, like good sailing.
But there’s no denying that these first four compositions, as good as they are, serve just as appetizer for the main meal, which is the epic, sprawling last tracks. Aureum Lux, the last track, as much as its title might sound like something from Eric Whitacre, definitely has little to no bliss during its suffocating twelve-minute duration. Þórir guitar’s melodic licks try to put some ice on top of Magnús’ frenetic drums, but it’s no use. His drum sticks churn out eruption after eruption of noxious volcanic excretions out of the snare and cymbals. Whatever you might be doing when you get to this track, you’ll stop it for sure. You’ll close your eyes and enjoy this clash of primeval elements, this landscape of magma and fjords that Svartidauði has, once again, captured so well.
Yes, fellow men, there’s a new god among the Æsir, and his name is Svartidauði.