German atmospheric black metal mastermind Danijel Zambo is back with another intriguing chapter to the Skognatt saga, which returns back to the folk-influenced black metal that we remember from the band’s demo era. Earlier you might remember that he released an entirely left-field album called Stargazer, which I truly loved. This disc however, seems to pile on the black metal and with a decidedly strong production to boot. The first cut, “Xibalba” opens with familiar tremolos, as well as a bit of middle-eastern inspired acoustics in the background. This is different from his traditional European folk instrumentations present in the band’s demo. Focusing on a hugely chorus influenced approach this time aorund might not sound like the best idea, but mixing it in with heavily textured song structures is a much better way to sell the performance as a whole. Not only am I getting something that I sing-along with, but I’m receiving a bevy of intersecting pieces that convey an enlightening soundscape aside from the black metal. This style might not come off all that vicious, but it does manage to take Skognatt’s music to a completely new and extremely proficient level. The title track comes next, as it plays further on the middle-eastern vibe explored in the very beginning of the disc. It often seems a waste that the disc only features two cuts, as both are quite strong and would have fit better on a full-length album.
If this EP demonstrates anything, it is that the world is ready for a debut album from this fellow. Both tracks here are similar, yet different; and seem to show that Skognatt as an artist is and has been evolving into something more than we normally hear with atmopsheric black metal. Instead of going the old folky vibe that several thousand similar black metal artists have pursued in the past, this musician seems to be going into the realms of world music which really seems to beef up his image and vibe as an artist. I’ve become more interested in this artist now than I ever was, which should say something. The only unfortunate part about this album is that it is just two songs, rather than six or eight. Skognatt is at his best right now, and I’d definitely like to hear more. The disc is quite catchy, yet quite ominous and I couldn’t be more pleased.
(2 Tracks, (10:00)