Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Skoll - Through the Mist We Come Back album '99


Skoll is in my opinion one of the best Italian black metal bands. Band was formed in '94 under the name Ragnarok, changed name to Skoll in '95 and released first demo in '96. Members were involved in many other bands, you can check all of them on metal archives so I won't talk about that too much, I'll just say that from all the bands members were involved with, Huginn is my favorite and you should check that band out!

Skoll is still active and so far they've released 4 full-length albums, 3 compilations, 1 ep, 2 splits and 2 demos. What I'm sharing is their first full-length album and it was self-released as a CD and as hand-numbered tape limited to 300 copies by French Chanteloup Creations. What I have of course is the tape, and it's the usual Chanteloup tape - regular dubbed cassette and glossy cover printed on one side only. Plenty of people are still selling this tape on Discogs, and it's cheap so buy it if you enjoy it.

The rip of this first full-length hasn't leaked on web until now, and on it Skoll still sounds the way they did before they changed their style later in 2000s. Skoll now, actually for over a decade, plays viking black metal but their early style was much better in my opinion.
Whenever I listen to Skoll, I listen to old stuff from them so I'm really not an expert when it comes to their newer work as I haven't listened to it properly, maybe only once. I probably should have listened to entire discography again before writing this review but I just didn't feel like it.

The first full-length album continues and kind of completes the first demo which you must listen. Oh, ...in the Mist I Saw... demo is truly pure perfection; I've heard many good 90's demos but that one is one of those that I keep coming back to, and never get tired of. Each moment of the first demo is so good, so fucking enjoyable and interesting and so, so beautiful, the keyboards are so playful and gloomy! Seriously, listen to that demo.

There are 7 songs on this album and it (only) lasts for a bit over 30 minutes. The style is keyboard driven atmospheric dark black metal. 
Vocals are in pretty raw black metal style, mixed with some cleaner speaking parts, nothing too exceptional and too special but they fit the music very well. 
The music is what's special about this album, I haven't heard such good, dark and melodic music in long time: from programmed drums which aren't annoying or bad at all, to excellent guitar riffs and powerful and loud bass lines. I love it when bass is actually louder than guitar, and it doesn't happen often but it happened on this album and I'm glad it did.
The synths are what makes this album as good as it is, and - I know I'll probably never say this again but - synths remind of Grausamkeit. Grausamkeit is very unique band and that's mostly due to synths, and I've never really heard a band which has such similar synths to Grausamkeit as Skoll does. It's just the style of playing, the melodies, they are done the way Grausamkeit used to make. The production is, of course, much better than Grausamkeit. Except of Grausamkeit, synths also remind me of very obscure band from Brazil called Evocation which released one demo which became one of my all time favorite demos because it is extremely powerful and atmospheric.

My favorite part of the album is the last song A Vision of War Through the Mist which is too perfect to even try to describe. The combination of fast paced black metal and excellent riffs with mid-tempo atmospheric parts on synths just makes this song one of my favorite, if not the favorite, Skoll song.

The conclusion is - Skoll is a very good band, but their early material was the best by far and I really recommend listening to this album and the first demo because they are both excellent.

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