Review 1102 : Kvaen – The Great Below – English

Kvaen is already back with its second album.

Created in 2019 in Sweden by Jakob Björnfot (vocals/all instruments, Autumn Death, live for Ghost Ship Octavius, Trident), the project already released a first album in 2020, followed by a split with Mother of All in 2021. The Great Below is released in 2022, with Black Lion Records again.

Tommi Tuhkala (Outlaw, Spell of Torment) handles drums duties.

The album begins with the ice-cold and powerful Cauldron of Plagues, an extremely hooking song which melts Black Metal’s rage with the heady sonorities of the Pagan/Folk universe. Raw howlings are blended to the energetic rhythmic which unveils some softer harmonics, then The Great Below comes next in company of Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Conquering Dystopia). The track is sharp, offering a fast-paced and heavy rhythm part, which serves as a basis to those piercing leads, while In Silence offers us a moment of respite with a worrying introduction. The haunting rhythmic comes next before unveiling its seizing rage then it welcomes Nephente (Netherbird, Riket) on vocals. Damnations Jaw offers a worrying oppression. Solid and majestic leads will calm dawn to allow Mike Wead (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, ex-Candlemass…) to offer an epic solo which perfectly stick to the worrying ambience, while Sulphur Fire offers very Old School and raw sonorities. The effective patterns coupled to those vivid melodies provides an explosive melting on which visceral screams crash before letting Ensamvarg and its orchestrations fascinate us. The contrast between majestic elements and shrilling tones becomes quickly hooking, just like during the solo made by Sebastian Ramstedt (In Aphelion, Necrophobic, ex-Nifelheim), while Your Mighty Has Fallen displays a mysterious dissonance. Hypnotic leads alight on this direct rhythmic, which drive us to The Fire Within Him Burns, the last track, on which we also have Mathias « Vreth » Lillmans (Finntroll, …and Oceans, Dispyt…) to feed this unchained fury. The song sounds like an uncontrollable storm, then appeasing keyboards let the sound die into the void.

With this new album, Kvaen confirms the excellent impression of his first release. The Great Below skillfully melts an ice-cold and powerful Black Metal with hooking elements, interesting guests and an unfurling wave, creating a devastating tornado.


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