Friday, October 23, 2009

Striborg - Perceiving the World With Hate (2009)

I've often been dismissive of Striborg's albums in the past, enamored of their unique atmosphere but failing to forge a personal connection to the songs. Perceiving the World With Hate has not only impressed me with its own ghastly charms, but forced an awakening in me. Since hearing this, I've gone back through several of Sin's older works and found what I've been missing. It's been a revelation at the level of a Nattens Madrigal or early Ildjarn.

Like all great innovators, Striborg creates art that is not immediately accessible to the untrained ear. His compositions feel awkward, unbalanced, and out of tune. But they also create a morbid atmosphere that resounds with voluminous, swollen synths which thrive below the jangling fuzz of the chords and acoustics. Sin Nanna's vocals are those of a dying, cornered animal, at the end of its miserable existence, the last pulse of life escaping the frosted breath between its lips. The songs are journeys that play about with the cheesy stereotypes of black metal (man in cloak and corpse paint in forest with no friends) and elevate them to a beautiful truth. "Trails of Desolation", "Etherial Moon", and the title track all emit this sense of decrepit fascination, desolate wanderings through a tired and tortured perception. If you seek something faster as a break from the slow crawl, there is the ruthless "Negative Emanations". As an added treat, Malefic of Xasthur appears on the frightening "Call of the Redwood Forest". Also notable is the 10+ minute "Origin of Parnormal Possibilities", dark and grating ambience.

Perceiving the World With Hate is now the 11th album in a half decade from Striborg, and it is both challenging and raw as fuck. It is one of those albums to which you must surrender your preconceptions of 'black metal', structure and melody if you wish to enjoy. The slow drumming, the synth work and the fiendish, cold guitars create a haunting miasma of loneliness that make my life seem like sunshine by comparison. A dark and unnerving trip, which has gifted me with the desire to re-explore with past releases. Great listening.

Highlights: Trails of Desolation, Call of the Redwood Forest, Etherial Moon, Origin of Paranormal Possibilities

Verdict: Epic Win [9/10]

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