Solens Vemod

Written by: MST on 02/04/2014 00:49:33

Solo projects are always interesting in one way or another, as they represent the visions and ambitions of a single human being instead of a selection of compromises between a number of individuals. The results can be everything from absolutely mezmerising to the epitome of terribad. The horrible ones give solo projects a bad name, as excellent albums from the likes of Walknut, The Ruins Of Beverast and Lurker Of Challice show exactly how brilliant a creative musician with no limitations can be. Nasheim from Sweden has become one such solo project, as other previous members have left over time since the band's inception way back in 2001. "Solens Vemod" is the band's debut full length album, and the last time anyone heard from the band was back in 2007 when Nasheim collaborated on a split with the Danish black metal band Angantyr.

Nasheim is an atmospheric black metal project with a bit of a folky edge, not unlike the likes of Drudkh and the aforementioned Walknut. The man behind the music is Erik Grahn who handles vocals, guitar, bass and drums (programmed as far as I've been able to gather). On top of that, Grahn has enlisted the help of one E. Almroth for his skills on the cello and violin. These extra instruments play minor roles on the album, but they enrich the atmosphere of the album nonetheless. Overall though, the success of an album like "Solens Vemod" comes down to four important factors: riffs, atmosphere, production and composition. Grahn is no apprentice in the art of conveying emotions through his guitar, as the main riffs of especially album highlight "Jag fyller min bägare med tomhet" practically bleed melancholy. The atmosphere throughout the album is one of utter hopelessness, largely created by the excellent synergy between Grahn's riffs and his woeful vocals which mostly consist of screams, but also some clean vocals once in a while that work wonderfully in "Att av ödets trådar väva sorg". The production obviously also plays a big part in the creation of that wonderfully woebegone atmosphere; the drums, while (probably) programmed, sound organic and sit comfortably in the mix with the distorted guitars, the bass which is quite loud for the genre, and the vocals that naturally refrain from taking over too much as is the custom in the genre.

The fourth and final factor, the composition, is obviously what makes or breaks an album, and it is often what separates good bands from the great. In the case of a one man project, being able to write and record a well-constructed album like "Solens Vemod" is nothing short of an achievement. The slower, frail sections act as excellent build-ups to the intense climaxes within each song, and above all I feel like there's an emotional connection between each part of the whole album. There's clear progression to be heard, from hopeless woe through anger and spite which ultimately transforms into a form of peace as the dying notes of "Vördnad" end the album. But although each song, and each part of each song serves its own purpose, some compositions work better than others. Opener "En nyckel till drömmars grind" is almost exclusively in the slow build-up territory mentioned earlier, and although it works well overall I think giving it more of a purpose of its own, in the form of a release from all the built up tension which is ultimately released in the second track, would've enhanced the listening experience.

Enough with the criticism though, because Nasheim's debut full length album is undeniably a great record. Filled to the brim with emotional tension, "Solens Vemod" is 48 minutes of excellent atmospheric black metal of the wonderfully melancholic kind, and considering that it is a one-man project I am thoroughly impressed. Here's to hoping that we won't need to wait another seven years for the next recorded material from Erik Grahn and Nasheim.


Download: Jag fyller min bägare med tomhet, Att av ödets trådar väva sorg
For The Fans Of: Drudkh, Walknut, Fen, Negură Bunget
Listen: Northern Silence Productions

Release date 14.02.2014
Northern Silence Productions

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