Black metal, even in its truest sense, has grown to mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Philosophically and in execution, black metal's stylistic conservatism is a miasma. Yes, from Borknagar's early, full-chord chorales to Sigh's innumerable influences to Ulver's harsh night-worship, black metal's roots and definitions are nebulous at best, and that's okay.

Take Lifvsleda, for instance. At the surface level, this is rather true -- it blasts with mighty ice winds, it is sinister, and it places atmosphere above all, but to call this a traditional black metal album would be a disservice. From the tight rhythm section to the bizarre chord voicings found within, Det Besegrade Lifvet is a groundbreaker in disguise. Subtly paying homage to the greats who broke black metal's mold in the mid-90s, Lifvsleda's superficially orthodox black metal blossoms into something so much more with a dedicated listen.

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Det Besegrade Lifvet releases September 11th on Shadow Records.


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