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Review: Vakaren - Infernum

Label: Independent
Year released: 2022
Duration: 43:24
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: December 5, 2022
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
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Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (3 Votes)

Vakaren are a fairly productive Swedish black metal act that's got the expected slurry of demos, EPs, and splits that greatly outnumber their small but respectable number of full-lengths when you consider they've only been around for five years. Their latest album, Infernum, has the kind of rolling melodic sensibility you would expect from the country whose scene was all but created by Dissection, though there is a more modern sensibility to it with a sort of wall of sound approach that recalls Gaerea if they were less technical and vicious. That makes this sound awesome, and when you mix it with a murky but spacious production, venomous shrieks, and only listen to a song or two, it kind of is. The big issue I have is that the songs don't have much identity or variety, as they all tend to follow a very similar formula of bringing out a massive tremolo melody with the rest of the band bashing around it and either running it straight into the ground or introducing some time changes that will be run into the ground alongside them before simply deciding to stop. You get some exceptions like "The Personification of Time and Dust" and the cassette exclusive bonus track "Necro/Hell," which have more going on and stand out as proof that the band has the capacity for greatness, but while the rest of the tracks are individually compact pieces of seething, sometimes beautiful hatred, they start to blur into one another and drag on when taken together. Vakaren have all the pieces to be a strong example of modern black metal, but their deficient songwriting holds them back from being great and makes them merely good.

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