- 1.The Beast03:40
- 2.Spirit of the Forest05:02
- 5.Arctic Hysteria04:56
- 7.Between Ice and Fire04:44
- 8.Illusion of Innocence06:12
- 11.Memento Mori01:05
Hladomrak is a band from Sweden, formed in 2011 and consists of three members. They released their first full length album in 2013 and their second one, the album about which I am writing at the moment, in 2017, called Arctic Hysteria. Both albums were released at first by the band in digital and in limited cassette format. Two years after the independent release of Arctic Hysteria, in 13th of August 2019, More Hate Productions from Russia, decides to re-release the album in a nice cd format and make the digital version available from the label’s bandcamp too. The album contains eleven tracks of overall duration of about forty-nine minutes. At first glance, the album has nothing to catch your attention, the cover is showing nothing special, the inlay has nothing more than some dark photos and the lyrics. No interesting artwork, no photos of the band, nothing to make you want to listen to this album. But does the appearance always say the truth?
The answer is no. Even by the first track, the listener will understand that the band has a lot of potential. The music that the band presents is totally devoted to the Scandinavian Black Metal scene. You will discover that their influences come from all the well-known bands of the Scandinavian area with the most obvious ones to be the ‘90ies Satyricon, Enslaved, some faster references to the riffing of Marduk and some melodic ones reminding of Necrophobic. Sometimes you may feel that the riffs and the melodies are too close to their influences, maybe more than they should have been. However, if you get past the similarities with other bands you will discover interesting ideas of the traditional Scandinavian scene, mixed with some modern elements such as the groovy passages or the massive and melodic touches. The tracks’ duration is somewhere between four and six minutes, while the band has done a really good job with their structure. The lyrics are written in English apart from one (Frost) which is written in a strange phonetic representation of Russian. They are contained in the six-page booklet, they are dark and pessimistic, and they speak of destruction of humanity, the dark future of mankind and the dark side of nature.
I guess that it has become a commonplace to say that the Swedish musicians are highly skilled professionals. That is the case with Hladomrak too. The performance of the musicians is extraordinary, delivering a solid, professional and flawless result. The guitar is the main instrument that creates the atmosphere and the feelings, its lines are delivered with precision and passion. The bass supports the guitars and adds depth to the compositions while the drums are destroying whatever is left with their steady and energetic performance. The vocals are harsh, demonic Black Metal vocals, exactly the style you would expect in a release like Arctic Hysteria, that is hateful, passionate, violent and expressive. The production is also professional, giving a warm and solid result, it is good but not suitable for this release as the style of the compositions demand a frozen and harsh approach. The mixture is highlighting the guitars as it is the most important instrument in the compositions but maintaining a perfect balance between all instruments and the vocals.
In conclusion, I think that Arctic Hysteria is an album that can offer some interesting moments to the listener. Surely, the similarities with other older, known bands, may be something annoying sometimes. However, the band has tried to overcome their influences and create music with their personality in it. In some tracks they have achieved it, in others they haven’t but their effort is good. The tracks I distinguished are Despite, Arctic Hysteria and Between Ice and Fire. If you are a fan of the ‘90ies Scandinavian Black Metal, you will appreciate this album.