Born and bred beneath the fecund black metal grounds of Norway, harvesters of misanthropy Svarttjern, have resurfaced from their iniquitous chasm after nearly four years to unfurl filth, disgust, and ravishing grimness with their latest Shame Is Just A Word. Having built up a reputation for delivering true Norwegian black metal since they formed in 2003, the band made their mark in the underground with their annihilating debut full-length, Misanthropic Path of Madness. Since then, the band has blazed a path of destruction, pushing their sound in ways that continuously appeals to the truest of black souls, and establishing themselves as the aggressive perfectors of the underground. On Shame Is Just A Word, Svarttjern continue to keep their defiance close to heart, executing some of their most raw, wicked, and speed-metal inspired style of TNBM to date.
Svarttjern have done a good job developing their sound over the last decade, leading up to some of their best sounding production, and relentless riffing on their album prior, Dødsskrik. The relentless riffs still remain, however Shame Is Just A Word is stripped down and bare-bones, delivering more on the lo-fi end of the production spectrum. The serrated nature of opening track “Prince of Disgust,” reinvents the bands sound with a wealth of dark, homeland inspiration being the driving force. Vocalist HansFyrste appalls listeners with his ghastly croaking, which often times implements the asphyxiating techniques of earlier Attila Csihar, working wonders for the harrowing atmosphere of this record.
Throughout the latter half of their discography, Svarttjern have infused many classic thrash/speed metal components within their sound. Tracks like “Ment til å Tjene” and “Ta dets Drakt” reveal a great deal of those influences through a body of razor sharp, thrash-inspired guitar work, interlaced with variations of tremolo picking. Also there to solidify that notion comes the cover of thrash classic “Bonded by Blood” by Exodus, which is of course given a more grim upgrade.
The album becomes a bit more dynamic on “Melodies of Lust,” a song that provides the only relief among the constant hammering of misanthropic madness. Reminiscing on the powerful introduction of Dissection’s “Where Dead Angels Lie,” the sound of clean and chilling guitar strings amidst the sound of rain, gives way to thunderous percussion. Evil layered melodies develop around rotten riffs to make a trve followers wet dream come to life. If that doesn’t do it for them, then perhaps the melancholic melodies of “Frost Embalmed Abyss,” will.
Svarttjern may have toned down their explosive execution on Shame Is Just A Word, but what it lacks in production power, it achieves in grim disgust. There is still blasting speed present and some wicked riffing, but overall comes across a bit more dull than their releases prior, which is not to say it won’t appeal to fans in new ways. The band continues to fill the airwaves with scorn, the guitar attack is still malicious, and fans of the TNBM sound will definitely approve.