After being out of print for a long time, Skogen’s, “Svitjod,” is being rereleased through Nordvis Produktion and will be available on a variety of formats. This album really takes listeners across the Scandinavian landscapes by unleashing a brilliant atmospheric black metal sound.
The Swedish band's second album is considered to be one of the finest atmospheric black metal albums from the region and the band continues that tradition of Scandinavian black metal which goes all the way back to Bathory. When listening to, “Svitjod,” you will find yourself becoming immersed in the mix of atmospheric black metal and Scandinavian influenced metal. Similar to Bathory’s, “Nordland 1 and 2,” Skogen introduces listeners to more than just a style of music, but it is an homage to one’s culture.
The solemn intro riff on the first song, “Dighra dödh,” creates this ominous atmospheric tone and the harsh black metal vocals provide such a powerful sound. Eventually, the band develops the music into more of an epic sounding section with these great melodic touches. However, there is always this contrast between the black metal and more Scandinavian folk metal elements. Probably what makes this album’s atmosphere so mesmerizing is the contrast of styles. Track number two, “Häxsabbat (Crimen Laesae Divinae Maiestatis),” creates more of a grim atmosphere as if one were walking through a blizzard across a frozen tundra under a full moon on a pitch black night. The music expresses such raw emotion and the notes played on the guitar send chills down your spine. It is really great music to clear your mind and lose yourself in the dark yet pleasant atmosphere.
Another notable track is, “Vinterriket,” which is the album’s longest piece that goes for about elven plus minutes. The music journeys through a variety of transformations and features acoustic incorporation to offer that Scandinavian sounding theme. Overall, it is an amazing piece of music that demonstrates tremendous songwriting talent. “Storm,” is another dynamic and captivating song on the album. The brutal black metal vocal delivery is perfectly recorded over the guitar and drum parts to inject a more aggressive sounding tone. A great point to bring up about the album is that the recording for this release was extremely well executed. The recording of each instrument truly stands out and plays an important role in the overall structure. Also, the keyboard sections definitely deserve recognition for building a landscape in the background to contrast with the extreme sounding compositions.
A few final tracks I want to mention are, “Blodörnshämnd,” “Dauðaferð,” and “Svitjod.” These songs contain some great riffs and triumphant sounding pieces of atmospheric black metal. When you look at the album cover you could imagine yourself hiking through the forests of Sweden listening to this album. Although the Scandinavian themed atmospheric black metal style has been created numerous times before, Skogen does make it interesting and is able to find ways to make you become engaged in the music.
If you have heard this album before, or if this is your first time even hearing about the band Skogen, you still need to go and check out the rerelease Nordvis is putting out. I do believe they are already selling copies on their page, so go and grab a copy if you enjoy this type of music. As a fan of atmospheric black metal, I truly think this release stands out amongst the crowd and deserves high praise for its musical creativity.
Skogen “Häxsabbat (Crimen Laesae Divinae Maiestatis)" :
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