Review: Koldbrann - Vertigo

Band: Koldbrann
Album: "Vertigo"
Style: Black metal
Release date: 2013-01-25
Origin: Norway

1. IntroVertigo
2. Totalt Sjelelig Bankerott
3. Hjertets Holodomor
4. Drammen
5. Stolichnaya Smert
6. Terminal Transnistrii
7. Phantom Kosmonaut
8. Goat Lodge
9. I Eklipsens Skimmer
10. Sans Soleil
11. Inertia Corridors

Well, this is a new acquaintance for me, although after hearing a few notes from Koldbrann, I must say that I am well-versed in their music style. For you see this is Norwegian black metal. Period. Though not in the "early-90's style" - but one look at the album cover alone should tell you that. Nah, rather think of latter Satyricon-albums, spice it with a bit of Taake and add some rock n' roll and we are very close to the sound of "Vertigo".

They sport quite a modern sound, although they've stayed cleared from sounding too polished, cold and clinical. In other words, the production really suites the music well and it sounds professional and everything.
I must say that I am impressed by the overall musicianship and song-crafting, having not heard very much about the band prior to this. They move very masterfully within all musical territories, having no problem in crafting a groovy, slow-moving piece of doomish black metal, only to cast themselves into a blitzkrieg frenzy at the next moment. And although I will prefer the latter (such as on "Totalt Sjelelig Bankerott") rather than the first (such as on "Phantom Kosmonaut"), it makes the album more varied and I have to give the band an extra point for that as well.

One thing that I cannot leave out though; three tracks are instrumentals that doesn't add anything to the album whatsoever. I really question the decision to include these three little fuckers, all of them being around 50 seconds long each. The next time I listen to this album, I will exclude these, thus making the album 8 songs long and effectively erasing about 3 minutes of pointless "music".

Vocally, this isn't anything we haven't heard before, although it's thankfully far from the generic rasps of Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir - whom I always compare with any new black metal-vocalist that I hear. Sometimes the guy, Mannevond that is, goes into a higher, agonized pitch which is really cool. And is that a guy trying to sound like a woman in the "chorus" of "Stolichnaya Smert"? If that really is Mannevond, I'm even more impressed. It sort of reminds me of what Fenriz did on "Goatlord". I'd say that the guy is definitely above the average black metal vocalist, though of course not being anywhere near the masters (that being Shamataee and Mortuus).

After my first listening-session; I wasn't very impressed to give this more than an average score, seeing as it wasn't bad in any way, but it just didn't grasp me completely as I would like it to do. But this is one of those records that you - A; definitely have to give a few spins until you "get" it and B; (this is probably more for me personally) have to be in the right mood to appreciate.
And although I kinda prefer the sound of latter Satyricon compared to this, there is still no denying that this is a damn good record - though I'm not blown away the way I wanted to be. Standout tracks for me personally is "Totalt Sjelelig Bankerott" (Kom igen då för helvete!), "Drammen" and "Stolichnaya Smert".


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