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Kvist - For Kunsten Maa Vi Evig Vike
Review: Melodic romantic epic is the flavor of this record, which takes the sweeping style of a modern black metal band like Dimmu Borgir and exploits simple hardcore styles underneath to produce an essentially compact and beautiful majesty of sound. As on many black metal records, the primary tactic is to engender melody through flooding over overlapping microtones broken out by distortion, causing an affect of overall attraction that makes a liquid melody from metallic subelements.
Kvist throw together phrases with some assertion but then undercut this power with often predictable, embarrassingly-obvious connections that seek to maintain tonal balance rather than exploit its unbalance. Despite this primary compositional want they produce music that keeps itself together with driven rhythm and the pulse of guitar tones, building simple stepping-stone riffs like a punk band but linking these through strobing rippingly fast power drives that bring percussive excitement as the cavalry to save this music.
The resulting chain of melodies bring together pretty songs that could be short, but stretch toward a more epic aesthetic of structure. Keyboards, overbearing and diffuse flood pure electronic tones through these riff structures in an assertion of dominant melody which sometimes enhances the simplicity of the guitar lines but more often illustrates the repetitiveness and dependence upon production and technique to give this a sense of epic, rather than structuring.
The whole tones of the digital instrument enforce however a clear contrast with the abraded, distorted, and obscured guitar tone, and bring out the harse echo chamber vocal with its purest starkness. Using these three elements and their interplay produces a subtext to the overall motion of the music, and Kvist work heavily in this area to create some distinction for otherwise placeholding riffs and choruses.
Not to imply that there are no interesting collections of notes here for repetitive rollout. The distinctiveness comes in the types of elements fused in each riff, although nothing is standout, and in the way that these can come together into simple but distinctive structures offset from the rest of the music world by the particular interpretation enforced to empower these musicians in the spaces given by such reductive, rock-n-roll equations. Flavor underlies that from layers of attention to detail that Kvist use to complete a multifaceted image.
However entrenched it is, its beauty seems to be a thing of simple similarity and not divisiveness, despite the aggression of its positioning, and its epic falls more into the variety of very simple emotion in the hanging, romantic, gothic, over-articulated and simplistic emotional ideal of this music. This seems secondary to me, as the power here is in the rhythms of these fierce riffs and the overall atmosphere held and disrupted as appropriate for the vision of each song. In this Kvist succeed, and create a solid although somewhat undistinguished album.