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SVARTALVHEIM

Ancient

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Ancient Svartalvheim album cover
2.82 | 4 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Svartalvheim (1:22)
2. Trumps of an Archangel (3:50)
3. Huldradans (5:52)
4. The Call of the Absu Deep (5:29)
5. Det Glemte Riket (6:59)
6. Paa Evig Vandring (9:15)
7. Ved Trolltjern (4:21)
8. Eerily Howling Winds (4:20)
9. Likferd (4:52)
10. Outro (2:27)

Total time 48:47

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Aphazel / vocals, bass, guitars
- Grimm / drums, vocals

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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Buy ANCIENT Svartalvheim Music


SvartalvheimSvartalvheim
Listenable Records 2011
Audio CD$25.84
$15.50 (used)
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ANCIENT Svartalvheim ratings distribution


2.82
(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (25%)
25%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ANCIENT Svartalvheim reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Svartalvheim' - Ancient (7/10)

One look at the visibly budget-conscious and cheesy album cover of the Norwegian black metal band Ancient's debut full-length would very well lead one to believe that this was another obscure but forgettable exercise in all things blastbeat-rife and 'kvlt'. But much to my surprise, 'Svartalvheim' is an album from the second wave of Norwegian black metal that really stands out from the others in terms of its interesting stylistic direction. True, there are plenty of sounds here to root the band in with their compatriots Burzum, Mayhem and Emperor, but Ancient's adventurous take on the black metal sound here makes 'Svartalvheim' certainly worth the experience.

The closest act I could compare Ancient with at this early stage in their career would be Ulver, who was coming onto the scene at roughly the same time. Ancient uses much of the same folky acoustics here to contrast the otherwise lo-fi and simplistic black metal. 'Paa Evig Vandring' is the biggest surprise track here, a nine minute long powerhouse that goes from black metal into a longwinded baroque organ display, eventually developing into a psychedelic soundscape. The untitled closing track of this album even goes into spacey ambiance, sounding like it could have been taken from a science fiction film. However, much of 'Svartalvheim' is divided between acoustic folkiness and traditional black metal, and suffice to say, the less metallic aspects of Ancient are what they excel most at.

In terms of the black metal itself, it is not nearly the best that the Norwegian scene at this point would have to offer. Mayhem was able to capture the same blastbeats and dark riffs with a much more atmospheric quality to them, and the vocals here are a little underwhelming. Some of the riffs are darkly melodic, and while the black metal aspect of Ancient is never truly lacking here, it's not nearly as impressive as some of the other bands in Norway at the time, and is dwarfed even by their more experimental aspects. All the same, 'Svartalvheim' can be lauded for being willing to experiment with a genre that at the time was still wrapped up in murder conspiracies and church burnings. An impressive effort from this Norwegian duo.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#500787) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 1994 was an amazing year for black metal, with seminal classics from acts like Emperor, Burzum, Mayhem, and Darkthrone - to name but a few - making a major impact on the genre for years to come. With so many big releases coming from Norway during this year, naturally a few gems have been forgotten with the sands of time. Svartalvheim, the debut album from melodic black metal outfit Ancient, is one release that has become a bit overlooked by black metal fans over the years - whether or not that's intentional is something I'm not sure of. A lot of black metal fans like to poke fun at the cheesy and gimmicky gothic style on the later releases from Ancient, so they may have dismissed this debut as something of that nature - a big mistake on their part. Though the band later moved away from anything resembling old school black metal, the primitive spirit of the genre is embraced (minus a few twists) throughout the majority of Svartalvheim. An original and captivating debut indeed, Ancient definitely got off on the right foot with this solid effort.

The music you'll find on Svartalvheim clearly has a strong influence from acts like Burzum, Darkthrone, and Mayhem, with its fast tremolo guitar picking and blast beats immediately instilling in the listener that this is not an easy listening experience. Though I wouldn't venture to say that Svartalvheim is terribly unique, it does have an identity of its own - not necessarily in its black metal portions, which are (admittedly) fairly standard, but more in its ability to incorporate folky acoustics, atmospheric keyboards, and even church organ into the mix. The heavier portions are still interesting enough, but they fail at creating the cold atmosphere that I long to hear in a black metal record. It's really the non-metallic sections that grab my attention most. Though I wouldn't call Svartalvheim a particularly progressive album, the band does hint in that direction quite often. "Paa Evig Vandrig" especially shows the band at their most progressive and experimental. This nine-minute long track sports an extremely epic, almost viking-like atmosphere that's aided by lovely acoustic guitars, keyboards (even an extended church organ section!), and creepy whispered vocals. An absolutely splendid track, for sure. You'll find plenty of other goodies throughout Svartalvheim, especially towards the second half, but it's always this one that leaves me with goosebumps.

While a good amount of the album is fairly average and the production is a bit dry at times, there are more than enough jaw-dropping moments throughout Svartalvheim to justify a purchase for anyone interested in black metal. This duo entered the scene with a great debut, and while I'm not yet well-versed in the rest of Ancient's discography, this album has certainly piqued my interest. I'd say 3.5 stars are well-deserved for this impressive, but not flawless, debut offering.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#601785) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 02, 2012

Latest members reviews

2 stars The debut album from these outsiders from the Norwegian black metal scene. My memories from those days are a bit hazy though. My copy from those days was covered in dust too. Some washing up liquid did the business though. Not even Zalo xtra strenght will save this album from the timewarp. ... (read more)

Report this review (#463452) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, June 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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