14 Mar 2016

Skjaersild: "Skjaersild" & "Damned Roots"

Unfulfilling and incoherent idolatry
Black metal is mostly inherently abrasive in nature, and to most outsiders most bands sound alike. And true, some (read: most) bands don't exactly contribute with anything worthwhile. Skjaersild from Spain are one of those groups that in their quest to sound as much like their Scandinavian idols - their Norwegian name gives them away - as possible they become entirely bland, contributing instead to the wrongful notion that all black metal bands do, in fact, sound the same.

For this review we'll be taking a look at the band's first two demos, Skjaersild and Damned Roots. The cornerstones of Skjaersild's modus operandi are unchallenging guitars, slow-moving atmospheric currents and flat networks of melancholic melodies. Skjaersild offers little more than fairly mediocre instrumentation and composition that ultimately fails to ignite any kind of spark with the person on the receiving end. Through the two tracks on the first demo, though together forming a spell of fourteen minutes of black metal, the Spanish one-man project formed by Ravn utilises sparse instrumentation in an equally sparse and depthless soundscape. There is little imagination behind the formation of this demo, and in the end it's a swiftly forgotten piece of ambient black metal where long passages of boring nothingness with no pay-off reigns supreme.

"Though largely the same in style, Damned Roots features more noticable use of what sounds like cheap keyboards."

A full two years later, in 2007, Skjaersild released another completely instrumental demo upon the world. Though largely the same in style, Damned Roots features more noticable use of what sounds like cheap keyboards. Pinpointing progression and differences is difficult, and it's almost surprising that the band has changed so little in two years. Ravn works with embarrassingly few layers in his compositions, maintaining that flat even surface that the band suggests should instead have been a complex, deep-reaching root system of melodies, percussion and ambience.

The overall problem with Skjaersild is the lack of coherency and continuity. From the listener's standpoint Ravn's compositions come off as incoherent tidbits thrown together to form a vague semblance of a song. Both demos are very lacklustre and radiate a feeling of abandon and carelessness. The final product is neither finished nor polished, and sounds more like works in progress for works to come later.


Skjaersild released in 2005 by Xaphan Records
Damned Roots released in 2007 by Xaphan Records

Skjaersild on BANDCAMP

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What did you think of Skjaersild's first two demos?

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