The 1260 days are up, and the battle cry has been unleashed! The extreme new release from Skald – in Veum, Stridslysten leaves no doubt in the listener’s mind that this album is nothing less than a call to arms.
Skald is a Swedish blackened metal band comprised of members who go by the names Mund, Resh, Zhajiin and Heth. The obfuscation of their identities has been a component of the band since their inception and is even maintained for live performances, such as when they appeared at 2017’s Nordic Fest in Oslo, Norway and 2018’s Elements of Rock in Uster, Switzerland.
In 2018 there were some rumblings about Skald – in Veum recording a follow up to their debut EP, 1260 Days. In October of 2018, the band shared that the album was now entering “mixing mode”. And then, silence…
After much anticipation, Stridslysten is set to release on April 12th, 2019. Stridslysten contains 8 tracks of absolute brutality from start to finish. The opening track titled “Stridslysten (Contentious)” starts with the unsheathing of a sword and simply explodes into a thunderous metal assault. In Swedish it proclaims:
Do not think I came with peace, I have come with the sword. Do not think I can be bought with gold, I scoff at glitter and flair.
All the elements of Skald, the guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, “push the envelope” of “extreme” within seconds of the song beginning. It sets the stage for nearly inhuman drumming/percussion, blistering riffs and lyrics that scream Biblical truths, cause and consequence, the problem with apathy, tribulation and so much more!
“As Wolves Among Sheep” was the first track shared from this album and features many dynamics and changes of pace. Probably more so than any other song on the album. Lyrically it is a song of conviction, calling out the atrocities of the enemies of God, and a push for Christians to end their tolerance of sin. The song pulls no punches as it plainly says: “These are the days of tribulation, the throne of satan stands erect.” Though you may have seen a video of them performing this live in 2017, you can now also check out the recently released lyric video:
“En Lyra Döpt i Blod” allows no time for the listener to catch their breath. It also shows the exceptionally well-done mixing completed in the studio so that you can fully appreciate the lead and rhythm guitar riffs in their intended harmony. Without proper mastering, a song this skillfully done with elements such as the echoing vocal lines in the back of the track would be lost. It’s a hard, heavy, song that possesses all of the same qualities that made 1260 Days such an incredible album. “A Lyre, Baptized in Blood” is anthemic in it’s lyrical nature and a true black metal manifesto for Skald in Veum!
“Do What Thou Wilt” sets a new pace on the album. While maintaining the heaviness of the rest of Stridslysten, the vocals stand in the forefront of this track proclaiming the truth found in the Pauline Epistles. I love the bold plain veracity proclaimed throughout this song of our position in Christ due to His righteousness despite our weakness.
With a song title like “Goatwhore”, you know this tune is not going to be subtle or “beat around the bush”. Goatwhore tramples all over the false and demonic religious influence in the world. It’s a driving song with the bass guitar really strong and pushing the track to new levels as heard in this amazing mix.
While most of the album seems to be a natural progression from the previous EP, “Shards Of The Infernal Fall”, has a sound that makes me recall that first Skald release. While lyrics like “the world is filled with shards of the infernal fall”, may seem to point to hopelessness, this is another track that unashamedly points to Jesus as the one and only answer. And it’s got one of the coolest riffs on the album too!
“Tvinsot (Siaren II)” starts off with a few echoing chords but it turns into musical machine gun fire that shreds and pulses through the opening lyrics of the song. It’s another one of those dynamic tunes on the album that breaks all the rules (or makes new ones). About two minutes into the track it gives way to more of a sluggish headbanging groove before breaking into the melodious prequel to the machine gun fire sound as heard during the first part of the song and ends at this break-neck pace. There is a saying that “all good things must come to an end”. What better way to end than with the song “Whoremaster”?And I hope you were expecting a blistering metal opus because that is exactly how Stridslysten ends.
And so it concludes… almost as suddenly as it began. It’s a wild ride of a project laced with adrenaline and spiritual truths!
False religion, the demonic, the wicked… beware… if there was ever a metal album to take down spiritual strongholds of the enemy, it is Stridslysten!
Skald – in Veum’s upcoming album is a dual label release with Nordic Mission in Norway and Rottweiler Records in the USA. It’s an album that is a MUST HAVE for any fan of blackened metal. It is, therefore, without question that The Metal Onslaught verdict of this album is 8 out of 10!
In current times we see more and more bands that rose in the Christian scene of the past 2 – 3 decades start to step away from boldly proclaiming the gospel. Skald – in Veum doesn’t bow to the same influences that caused many of those “Christian bands” to “water things down”. They absolutely stand in defiance with this release and therefore will be one of the boldest albums you will be able to pick up in all of 2019.
Live photos and review by: JR Rife