Since 2010, Ornias has been the one-man creative mastermind behind Swedish Babylonian-and-Sumerian-mythology-inspired Black Metal band Svartsyn. Requiem sees the return of Ornias, bringing him out of the abyss with another raging album, that is inexplicably Swedish black metal, to its darkened and blackened core. Picking up from where 2017’s In Death left off, you are instantly met with ear drum splitting blast beats and razor blade edge riffs that will see your inner demon surface out of the black pits of despair.
It is fair to say that Svartsyn has suffered from inconsistency over the last decade, with previous albums getting mixed but fairly positive reactions. Until In Death was released, that album seems to have been the catalyst that has brought back the spark of hellfire to the band. Requiem induces deep nostalgia, harkening back to the bands very first albums alongside the development and progression of the newer albums. With misanthropic darkness and primal rage at the black heart of the album’s sound, over the six tracks the listener is dragged head first into the abyss. Whilst to many the album will sound like a whirlwind of chaotic evil and never-ending despair, Requiem feels as though it was written with the very definition of the word requiem in mind. Taking you on a spiritual journey through the destruction of a civilisation as if the Antichrist himself had risen.
Musically, Requiem offers up a varied and more melodically inclined brand of traditional black metal, whilst still retaining the raw and uncompromising aggression that Svartsyn is known for. Amalgamating brutally fast thrashing passages alongside slower, doom laden riffing and seamless interchanging between both all encompassed within a signature black metal waltz. Despite the average song length coming in at just under eight minutes, the time just melts away like a Salvador Dalí surrealist painting, as the listener is locked into a trace like state guided by the drudging rhythms that appear throughout the album. With that in mind, and the albums deeply conceptual ideas, this is an album that has to be listened to in it’s entirety, there is no outright standout song that leads the rest of the album. Each song relies on each other to create a dark, sinister and doom filled atmosphere. Ornias relies heavily on his instruments to bring the concepts and ideas to life, utilising thunderous rhythms to drive the songs forward whilst the guitars build a gloomy and bleak atmosphere around them. With this considered, the sporadic vocals tend to have more of an impact this way, with their repulsive, disgusted and apathetic tone they reinforce the album’s theme of the ruin of humanity, echoing deep into the barren wasteland imagery that the album conjures up in the listeners mind.
Requiem, is an out and out, no frills, heavy and brutal traditional black metal album. There is nothing outlandish or overly complex, just a ear drum bludgeoning parade of riffs, misanthropy and darkness. With its primitive brutality and conceptual complexity, this oxymoronic offering is sure to satiate all extreme metal fans’ needs.