Stigma: Pa Kant Med Livet
Twilight Records 2008
Finally we have a new release from one of Norway's most underrated, traditional black metal bands. Mannevond and crew bring a five song EP of blackened Nordic hatred and summon demonic ghouls with its blasphemous compositions. There are three new songs, a re-recording of their track Fredlos from the split 7" with Lja, and a cover of Bathory's Bestial Lust. Opium Fields Forever opens the EP with severe malignancy, uttering foul vocals soaked in wickedness and frostbitten guitar chords. Fordervelse has some nice cymbal work within the inner folds of the song. If you thought Mannevond's vocals were deathly before, then listen to the chorus of Intifada. Charging along with an almost punkish zeal, the track saws at my ears with lightning strumming and galloping drums. The rewritten track, Fredlos truly does not seem out of place despite being over four years old. Mannevond's songwriting contribution, Avmaktens Isolat, is on the surface the most straightforward of the songs here with freezing monotonous riffs but look a little deeper and layers of mournful noise and baleful guitar solos create a sinister landscape devoid of life and warmth. The track reaches a crescendo and then breaks upon a bell chiming while it wallows in discordant notes and a steady kick drum. Once you are lulled into a sense of calm it explodes once again with a manual strangulation of the guitar strings and the return of the steady monotonous riffing. The excellent Bathory cover not only reveals their influence on Koldbrann but also is indicative of Venom's influence on Bathory. So it is a branch that reveals the root. The production this time around is much more organic feeling than the clinical inhumanity found on Moribund. With each recording Koldbrann grows and matures and refines their deadly concoctions into fermented and venomous brews of poisonous malevolence. Stigma is Koldbrann's best material to date and illustrates their ability to lay waste to beautiful landscapes as the ash falls like snow after a nuclear holocaust.