|©2012 Broken Limbs Recordings
3. Barren Earth
You would think that based on the band name alone that Vattnet Viskar is yet another northern European black metal band painted up like panda bears. But that assumption would be wrong. It turns out that Vattnet Viskar is actually a US based band who just so happened to borrow a little Swedish for their band name. Moreover, it turns out that Vattnet Viskar defies easy pigeon holing with their sound as it takes influence from the past two decades of black and doom metal for their self titled debut EP. This half hour EP only has three songs, but it does a credible job in establishing Vattnet Viskar as a young band with some potential.
With US based black metal bands thankfully avoiding some of the dreadfully poor output of their 90s forebearers, bands like Vattnet Viskar can avoid instantly turning off fans simply based on geography alone. This EP demonstrates that they have dutifully incorporated some of the better influences within black metal as well as some of the brooding doom moods. For the most part the music has the pacing of most atmospheric black metal. Fortunately the band also realized that while some reverb is necessary for the style, they don't bury their sound in a cavern of echoes and unnecessary noise. Their bass, though subtle in the mix, does a fine job of creating a good undercurrent to the guitars. The most impressive track of the three is the thirteen minute plus "Barren Earth", which shows the band understands how to use dynamics, incorporate acoustic instruments without resorting to cliche elements, and arrange the song so it never becomes boring.
I have no doubt that Vattnet Viskar's best days are ahead of them as they hone their sound and establish a stronger self identity. However, that does not negate the fact that this self titled EP is a very good debut and one that should be investigated by anyone who has a hankering for atmospheric black metal.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 03/2012