Drawing from the blood of bands such as 1349, Gorgoroth, Shining and Dødheimsgard, Norwegian supergroup, Den Saakaldte’s members are very much a part of black metal royalty and so had somewhat of a reputation to live up to with their second release, All Hail Pessimism. The sextet have delivered. The album is an eerie masterpiece which begins with a harrowing piano solo before rushing into ’La Vinteren Vare Evig’ with unexpected speed and ferocity.
With Swede Niklas ‘Kvarforth’ Olsson, of Shining fame, on recognisably chilling vocals, the lyrics take a morbid turn into the darkest depths of human emotion exploring death, anxiety and paranoia, complemented by two parts extreme metal guitar playing to one part slow, cold piano instrumentals. The marriage of sickeningly dark metal and solo piano produces an intentionally discordant and confusing mess which somehow works out to present All Hail Pessimism as a coherent album. If you are a fan of black metal purism then you will find Den Saakaldte harder to accept than other bands. However such a genre should have no limits or comfort zone and this is what it needs to continue pushing the boundaries like it once did.
Den Saakaldte show that Norway still has what it takes to rule the black metal scene.