By Tate Bengtson
Listening to Svarti Loghin is akin to listening to a black metal radio station that occasionally gets interference from the grunge/alt-rock channel located nearby on the radio spectrum. The result is disorienting and unwelcome.
Svarti Loghin revels in fusion of the most banal kind. It does not have a musical vision. It simply blends the visions of others into something that it tries to pass off as art. What it forgets is that hybridization requires a vision if it is to fuse disparate elements into a cohesive artistic statement. The boldness of Svarti Loghin’s borrowing is a sham, for it is not so much a paper tiger as a collage tiger.
Its core sound merges suicidal black metal with shoegaze black metal. The main vocalist is of a kind with Malefic from Xasthur and Niklas Kvarforth of Shining; unfortunately, his frenzied shrieks are less hysterics and more hysterical. As the vocalist bumbles through the melodrama, the guitars stick to a placid and flaccid shoegaze black metal that is rudimentary in technique, uninspired in idea, and constrained by the brittle recorded-in-a-dumpster production quality. Superimposed upon the mosquito-like buzzing that passes for a blackened wall-of-sound are jangly guitars intended to sound like Amesoeurs but which ultimately resemble Soul Asylum at the latter’s most tepid.
That is just the start. The band one-ups the competition with its secret weapon, its piece de resistance: a vocalist inspired by Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish. Yes, you read that right. Now, before you run off to the record store, salivating uncontrollably at this genius pairing, let me assure you that this is dreadful. It turns out that Hootie’s constipated baritone is an uncomfortable fit for suicidal black metal. Who would have thought?
Alternatively, perhaps that is the true brilliance of Drifting Through the Void. After all of those highly acclaimed so-called suicidal black metal bands – such as Leviathan, Shining, and Xasthur – presumably failed in their attempt to create music capable of inspiring self-inflicted death (or so one could conclude, based on the conspicuous absence of media-reported suicide notes blaming it on the genre), Svarti Loghin has perfected the formula at long last. Svarti Loghin is suicidal black metal in the most literal sense. I truly do not know how somebody could bear to listen to this happy-honky-hippy black metal. Suicide is the preferred alternative. So congratulations, Svarti Loghin; your bold lack of vision has achieved the full potential of the genre.