I’ve delayed the review of this album for quite some time, I have to say to my shame. Listening to it once again I find myself asking why – actually, SAVNOCK’s “Theophany” album – consisting of two songs with a total time of over 43 minutes – is well executed Black metal from the USA. And a little more than that.
But first, the packaging needs a little attention – yes, I like such things. Plain anthracite, thick cardboard paper with the “Theophany” logo, the sides sewn together, and the whole thing wrapped with a grey collar with the band logo on it – this sure provides, simple as it is, a noble look and a welcome deviation from standard jewel cases.
Back to the music. After an ambient intro – for me quite unnecessary, but then I always get impatient when forced to listen to only noises and the small atmospheric percentage manages to elude my attention successfully – the chaos starts. Black Metal chaos, yes. I find it interesting how SAVNOCK manage to slowly bring order into chaos during the next minutes, until finally everything seems in place. Even the sound, which starts off a little thin, gets more, well – not better, but more focused on the possibilities the minimal instrumentation offers. And it quickly shows where SAVNOCK act at their best – that is, when the Black Metal shredding evolves in melodies and atmosphere. A certain avantgardish element is there, SAVNOCK seem to play in their own little claustrophobic world of dark and strange melodies and rythms, chants and experiments. Towards the end of the first part there is an almost cinema-like interlude, a classic-like and mighty soundtrack; an recurring element which cuts off the Black Metal parts unexpected. The second part of “Theophany” for example presents a dark, almost sacral violin and piano piece which erupts in Black Metal once again.
“Theophany” reveals its weakness there, too: Although the music invites to drift into darkness, often enough you’ll bump your head before that happens on some unexpected and, I have to say, mostly unfitting change of mood. To me, it sounds still too much as if SAVNOCK are not yet sure where to go with there music, the flow of the whole thing is not quite steady; while on other occasions there is that one moment of congeniality you’ve been waiting for (and which popped up more often on their debut, I have to say). Furthermore I have a hard time defending SAVNOCK as avantgarde, and I only do so because I see potential to do something different – they bring their very own interpretation of experimental Black Metal, that’s for sure. The fundamentals are there. If the flaws I mentioned can be erased, the next output should very well capture me once again, and I hope this time it is drowning in darkness.
01 – (Expulsum Ex Inritus –
02 – Lacio Tergum In Inritus)