Schavot – Galgenbrok

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Void Wanderer Productions  / War Productions
Released: 2021
Buy Album: Facebook
Website: Facebook

Band line-up:

All instruments, vocals, recording and mixing by Floris

Tracklisting:

1. Tussen Muren
2. Galgenbult
3. Witte Juffer
4. Helleveeg
5. Moerasland
6. Droglicht
7. Jammerklacht
8. Rooftocht

 

 

 

Review:

Schavot are a black metal act on Void Wanderer Productions, and War Productions, who will be releasing their upcoming album ‘Galgenbrok’ on 1st October, 2021. The sole band member and multi-instrumentalist, Floris, has released four albums in the last two years, with his other projects, Asgrauw, Meslamtaea, and Saganland. His music is for fans of Emperor, Mactatus, Obtained Enslavement, Setherial, and Ulver. The following quote sums up the tone of the album being discussed ”Only the trees witnessed what happened in the distant past. Events, which to date are still told in folk tales. Old hollow oaks might whisper the story of witchcraft, perhaps they saw ‘Huttenkloas’ wandering the moors, looking for an unsuspecting merchant to rob and crush his skull with an axe. Torn old pines with dead branches might have seen the will-o’-the-wisps, that lured travellers into the depths of the marsh.”

Let’s get going, then: What really makes this album stand out is its speed. Sure, you could call some of the tempos around 200 bpm, which is still in thrash metal territory, but really they sound double that. (Technically speaking you could make an argument for quadruple, but let’s not go crazy). Things aren’t speedy constantly however, you actually get a decent range of tempos to enjoy, some pretty slow. (True BM fans will know slow means creepy, not boring). In fact, there are enough pace changes to almost make the sound proggy. What stops it from being true prog however, are the time signatures, which are very standard. You get your basic 4/4s and 6/8s, but still, that doesn’t make the sound nice, and safe. If that’s what you’re expecting, you’re in for the shock of your life, 99% of the time.

This stuff isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but you never know what to expect in terms of structure. Even so, things are far from random, here. Instead, the changes are designed to surprise. And they so do. The chord progressions, melodies and bass lines on the other hand, are very orthodox. That’s not too much of a problem though, as they are done particularly well, here. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the musician had classical training, as the interactions between the instruments often have the complexity of counterpoint, and that’s a tough subject! (Well two part counterpoint, full blown four part counterpoint is a long way away). There is a lot of not so clever unison stuff going on, but if it works (which it does), who cares?

Some of the highlights of the album includes the opening track’s expected craziness, mixing with some almost soothing synth melodies on top. You know how opposites attract, for example milkshake and chips? (Apparently). It’s like that. Whilst such melodies are rare, what is very frequent throughout the album, is the combination of harsh guitars, and softer synthesisers playing chords. Having said that, there are some occasional moments, where the sound is so peaceful, it sounds a little too out of character. (For example the intro seconds of ‘Rooftocht’ but that’s obviously a nitpick). The truth is (once again), I’m finding it hard to find things to write about. Really, this band sounds like Darkthrone, basically, but more complex and with keys. As the famous saying goes ‘A band name can say a thousand words.’ It’s true. 

In conclusion, this is nothing new but it’s very good technically speaking. Maybe some more melody would be nice, but this isn’t a pop album, is it? Maybe I should just stop talking about all the tunes nonsense. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the drummer was in fact an amazing robot bashing the snare like crazy (which I have seen on Youtube), or someone off his face on crack cocaine. I’m just saying he has the get the energy from SOMEWHERE. Give this a listen if you love the thought of being evil whilst flying a jet fighter at full throttle (or at least being evil in a thrilling rollercoaster ride if you have no military background), and if you think bursts of 300 bpm are for wusses.     

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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