Review: Hladomrak – Archaic Sacrifice

Hladomrak are a black metal band from Stockholm in Sweden that focus on the themes of nature’s cold, raw, unrelenting essence, presented in a modern, professional and highly produced sound. No necro production here, oh no.

The band’s first self-titled record was released in 2013, when Hladomrak was still a one-man band consisting only of founder and guitarist Evgenerator. In 2017 they followed up with Arctic Hysteria which was released with a full line-up. Now they give us Archaic Sacrifice, with a changed line-up. New blood Talon takes care of the lyrics and vocals, and Nils ‘Dominator’ Fjellström (ex-Dark Funeral, Nordjevel), takes care of the drums. The outfit is completed by Dipa on bass.

Not being familiar with the previous works of Hladomrak, I can only judge the current line-up and record. And I like what I hear. With 8 songs and a total runtime of 36:36, Archaic Sacrifice is not on the long side, but the riffing lends itself well to a shorter runtime. This is not a work of atmosphere or dreamy mysticism, but an onslaught of dark and brutal riffs. The guitar and drumming work on this record sometimes veers into death metal territory, rather than being a traditional black metal piece. And while I am a sucker for more epic, melodic, or folky influences in my black metal, this has won me over quite fast. The riffing never gets boring, and even though a lot of changes and riffs get thrown at you, still manages to have plenty of moments that stick with you.

The more technical, death metal-like riffing is well supported by a clean, polished and well produced sound. While again, I usually prefer a more natural sound, the fact that the songwriting and production fit together so well, makes this feel like a more coherent piece driven by a clear artistic vision.

In the end, whether you like Hladomrak’s latest work will be down to personal taste. I can see many oldschool black metal fans dismissing the modern style and production. I personally really like the complete package and will come back to this record quite a few in the future. Well done, gentlemen, well done!

Hladomrak Official Website
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