The blood-red cover is not the only thing that will make you feel ill at ease and a little bit freaked out about SKITLIV's "Skandinavisk Misantropi". Face the facts, both vocalist/guitarist/mind-fucker Maniac (ex-MAYHEM) and guitarist/vocalist Niklas Kvarforth (SHINING) are both involved. You couldn't possibly have been thinking that warm summer days and functional family vacations were the topics of exploration. Add to that a group of guest vocalists that includes Attila Csihar (MAYHEM), David Tibet (CURRENT 93), and Gaahl (GOD SEED, TRELLDOM, WARDRUNA, ex-GORGOROTH) and the strain of infection is a lethal one, to say the least.So what is it? Black metal? Doom? It is the music of human misery and severe mental anguish to be quite frank, but categorically it is black metal in a very broad sense, yet infused with a kind of (often) crawling doom. The speeding rage that breaks up the string-bent moroseness of "Densetsu" is the only aspect approaching conventional black metal though. As such, "sonic misery" seems most apt, so let's go with that. Much of the album consists of slithering dread with vocals and lyrics that run from the morbid to the impossibly horrific. The main riff, accompanied by an unsettling whir, of "Slow Pain Coming" could have damn near come off the first BLACK SABBATH album, vibrato and all, and "Hollow Devotion" is just as doomy with clanging bass lines that are so part and parcel to the album's chill factor. It gets uglier and scarier too, beginning with the spoken vocals of the title track and lyrics like "I'm stuck in this world of shit stained tears", while the 10-minute "Towards the Shores of Loss (Vulture of Face Kain)" is 10 minutes of purged dark secrets. By the time you've gotten through the macabre light picking, freezing sprinkles of piano, and the moans, shrieks, whispers and groans of "ScumDrug" you'll be wondering how you managed to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes and down a fifth of Kentucky Gentleman during those 69 minutes of sheer terror and still have a burning desire to do it all over again. Just do it, as "Skandinavisk Misantropi" is worth every second trimmed from your remaining time on this planet.
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