#Skuggor Whispers of Ancient Spells

3 min read

Band: Skuggor
Album: Whispers of Ancient Spells
Label: Naturmacht Productions
Release date: 23 February 2024
Country: Sweden
Format reviewed: High-quality digital recording

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to this record is most likely: ”Hmm… this sounds a lot like Filosofem.” And when I say a lot, I mean it. From the guitar sound to the synth and the production, the influence of Burzum’s legendary record on this album is undeniable. However, despite the strong sound inspiration, Skuggor is far from what can be called a clone band. It has an undeniable classic black metal charisma that is sure to satisfy every classic fan of the genre. There is nothing sophisticated about it, just plain, straightforward old-school atmospheric black metal. It lacks the epic, or overly emotional aspects of most modern atmospheric black metal, focusing instead on those tenebrous moods we are all well accustomed to. This is an album that could be recommended to someone who is trying to see what black metal is all about.

Although quite simple and not at all fancy, Whispers of Ancient Spells offered me a particularly interesting listening experience. It is rather tricky to describe the feelings that this album brings. There is of course that trademark eerie sensation, accompanied by a bizarre sense of melancholy and mystery. All of this is mostly carried out by the synth and the guitars, along with the slow-paced, almost doomy tempos. The vocals are a rare occurrence, this album is mostly made out of instrumentals, which I considered to be a rather interesting touch and a guaranteed quirk of the record itself. However, if you are one to enjoy more complex, fast-paced style black metal, I would suggest avoiding this record, as it may come off as boring. However, if you dig atmospheric BM with raw influences or even good old second-wave stuff, then this is a must. You may easily find yourself entranced in the almost tranquil mood despite the darker elements, and it is also a great pick for a forest walk on a foggy day. I found myself using it as background music for drawing and reading, and all I can say it that I will do it again.

In terms of the actual music, so to say, I have already mentioned that the production leans heavily on raw, bringing out all the fuzz and distortion of the guitars in particular. I found this really helps highlight the riffs and it also creates contrast with the almost serene synth, which helps balance out the harshness of the general sound. The vocals are also heavily distorted, and like in the case of the drums, are rather faded into the mix (which I doubt exists but you get the idea). It is definitely a guitar-driven record, and I really dig that about it.

I personally don’t think that there is much else to say about it, and I believe that it is an album that offers a unique experience to every listen, and that is honestly part of its beauty and appeal. Also, finding bands like Skuggor can be rather refreshing, particularly if you want to listen to something short and sweet, without the “charade” of most modern-day black metal. Overall, I can say that Whispers of Ancient Spells is a comfortable 8.5/10!

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8.5/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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