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Executing on the tenets of rock-'n'-roll albeit with black metal vocals is not new territory, but it's risky. The concern is alienating potential fans on either side of the spectrum: either the music won't be "black metal enough" (e.g. it might lack a well-defined atmosphere or rely too heavily on catchiness), or the harsh bleakness of the screamed vocals will ruin the "groove of the roll," so to speak. But holy shit, it can be done, and it can be done well -- what's needed is a riff-focused, knee-bopping, but cataclysmically dark dual approach, plus some guts beneath the screams. And that's where Norway's Slegest comes in: their new full-length Introvert is out Friday, and we're streaming the whole thing below right now in all of its lighter-holding glory.

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Lead vocalist Stig Ese makes full use of his impressive screamed range on Introvert, and it melds beautifully with the straightforward throwback groove led by an interplaying dual-guitar front. Meanwhile, the album's pacing, being so important to good rock-'n'-roll, makes for an enjoyable (if relatively brief) listen -- songs like "Doedskyss" chug along at a moderate but deliberate pace, whereas "Undergangens Tankesmed" is just totally all-out. There's no moment wasted to nail a slick riff or inject some of Ese's gritty vocals, almost as if it was purely for fun. And that's a word not often associated with black metal: "fun." Here, Slegest make it work like clockwork (and the drumming deserves notice as well, both well-balanced and never overbearing, even during the loudest moments).

While Introvert may be exciting, it still lends itself to the seriousness of the black metal void. Especially with Ese's razor-sharp vocal performance, the mood and tone of the album is both sinister and dark. For rock fans looking for a new edge, or for black metal fans looking to unwind a bit, Slegest offers the perfect medicine. Introvert is addictively suave, beautifully balladic at points, and all-around well-composed. Plus it rocks.

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Introvert releases Friday via Dark Essence Records.

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