02 Nordnorsk Svartmetall
04 Om sorg og helvete
Albums are divided into two categories: the ones that stay and enter the ‘hall of fame’ (i.e. this reviewer’s CD cabinet) provided they are good; and the ones that either become trade items or are just being given to kids around the block who wish to learn about music other than what MTV is poisoning them with…
That being said, seldom is this reviewer provided with a dilemma in regards to what would be the destiny of a certain album; the decision is dawning rather quickly, thanks to more than a couple of decades of experience, provided there are no unexpected surprises or abrupt turns in the musical plot. However, albums such as Skaur enhance the already challenging question – it is never simple; almost every musical piece has got its highs and lows, the obvious and the subtle, but mostly it is comprised of many grey areas, for not many albums out there can be tagged as immediate and utter timeless masterpieces – or the absolute opposite. There are no absolutes.
In that regard, Skaur is one of those frustrating bands that actually make you think; not capable of articulating a firm statement, they oscillate between the great and the mundane; between the perfect and the almost, and in the process their music leaves much to be desired.
Skaur’s music is coming through in waves, alternating between the utmost black metal cliches and sudden bursts of ingenuity in the form of a brilliant riff or an unexpected rhythm or an exciting vocal performance; these, however, can be sparse, few and far between, unfortunately.
This Norwegian, almost anonymous band, presents a self-titled debut album that is more than meets the eye – or the ear, in this case. Even though a major part of the music is a bread-and-butter semi-melodic, guitar-driven black metal, Skaur is intelligent enough a band to flake its otherwise good-but-not-great music with acoustic guitar parts, a lot of breaks in their black metallic-whirlwind, some utterly melodic parts incorporating clean singing and some interesting rhythm selections (Reggae, anybody?). Ironically, Skaur’s sound derives its backbone influence from Swedish bands from the mid 1990’s; bands that did just what Skaur is doing now, by delivering somewhat bland, forgettable, inconsequential black metal with very little originality or hooks to hold onto; bands such as Dawn or Algaion (Oimai Algeiou album era), who presented good, melancholic, emotional yet totally unimpressive metal of black.
I don’t want my metal to be just ok – I want it to be explosive, corrosive and greater than life, as it should be; mediocrity is not an option, not anymore it is not.
Such is the case with Skaur’s debut, yet the more one listens to this little album, the more it pulls in, almost enchanting the listener with its semi-Viking innuendos, its overtly saccharine melodic parts, its almost excessive effort to impress…This reviewer thinks he will keep this one, eventually, even for a while. He only hopes there’s still room in his CD cabinet for yet another album under the letter ‘S’.