Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre

3 min read

Band: Kvaen
Title: The Funeral Pyre
Label: Black Lion Records
Release date: 28 February 2020
Country: Sweden
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

First of all, I would like to say right now that I am rather surprised I did not have to fight my fellow reviewers for my pick this week, I thought for sure a gem like this would have gotten some claws sunken into by the first couple of days of the week, but then again, perhaps I was just quick enough.

Friday the 28th marks the release date of the debut album from KVAEN. What we have here is a solo project of the Swedish JB titled “The Funeral Pyre”; I had already seen some info about it on Facebook as I follow Black Lion Records on there, so the name stood out on the list of picks this week.

The album contains eight tracks, which all furthermore contain a distinct melody all different from one another. The first track, “Revenge by Fire”, leads the way in an old school sounding black speed metal style but about a minute in it goes down into a bridge section that is very melodic, and so is the chorus. The intake is easy to appreciate as the production is clear, although heavy on the compression, and the slow mellow part, later on, has a metal version of itself, you really need to be on your guard here as I believed this to be the buildup of what is to come.

Effects are not missing in the album title track “The Funeral Pyre”. The start out is a nice clean guitar tone filled with reverb and delay and the rest chimes in beautifully. Again the melody is on point and I thought to myself this was most likely favourite track of the album. That was, until I heard the rest. Vocals are on a more meaty side on the following track “Septem Peccata Mortalia”, which is sort of a change from the previous traditional shrieking connected to this genre. The neon classical solo on top of everything else made me smile.

“The Wolves Throne” stands out in a particular way, as a suiting intro to a track with a name like that it does have howling wolves and running waters. It is so delicate and intriguing, yet so simple. Coming up with this type of melody is not an easy task, not to mention making it sound so right. I loved the way that the melodic parts just merge into everything like hot fudge over freshly baked sponge cake during “As We Sever the Masters Plan”, the melodies being the already mentioned hot fudge, while the groove is the sponge cake.

A rather saddened, melodic gem closes the album. The slow feel and atmosphere are very fitting for closure and I made the final decision that “Hymn to Kvaenland” was my favourite track. I didn’t expect this album to be this good, but then again I guess in a way I never really go into my picks each week with a lot of expectations. The work speaks for itself, and my hat is officially off to Mr. J. Björnfot. 9/10 Julia Katrin


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