SVRMSVRM (2015-2017) [Compilation] (2018) REVIEW

Ukranian one-man atmospheric black metal project Svrm is fronted by Serhiy Tkachenko who is best known for his previous work in punk infused pagan black metal band Заводь (Creek, or small river) and earlier work in recently revived black/crust band Life is Hell. His work in Svrm has coincided with the relative silence of Заводь since their 2013 album ‘Крізь коло і п’ять кутів’. Though his work in Заводь closer resembles a punkish Drudkh in some respects, Svrm is a mix of Paysage D’Hiver like noisome frigidity and the more melodically inclined side of blackgaze. This most recent compilation collects two demos and three EPs worth of material recorded from 2015 up to and not including the 2017 EP ‘Останнє Сонце’.

If you’ve a strong interest in atmospheric black metal with a bleak and raw sound the earliest demos from Svrm are reasonably professional in their arrangement and feature evocative guitar lines that are nearly fully formed on the first demo ‘7’ from 2015 and third demo ‘При смерти’ from 2016. The recording quality is clear enough on these demos and the sound is more or less identical yet I could see him finding a balance between the pretty, soft side of atmospheric black metal and the flattened grating edge of the style. Of course you’ll notice immediately on the fifth track that this man has a supreme talent for melodic black metal guitar work. His fluid streams of tremolo might be occasionally predictable on ‘При смерти’ but they are no less listenable because of it. The ‘Зима’ EP from the same year only expands upon that sound but forms those melodic intentions into more structurally succinct songs.

From there we’re in 2017 and the final two EPs from Svrm show beginnings of a lean into an almost depressive rock influenced sound where the drumming shifts towards modern shoegaze on several tracks on ‘Голод’ and ‘За смертю’. The style is less atmospheric black metal orthodoxy and begins to resemble the shimmer of groups like Alcest with melodic leads you’d find in a band like Forgotten Tomb or Lustre. The shift away from a melodic/pagan black metal sound towards blackgaze is interesting to observe and I don’t think the end result sounds incredibly typical of the popular sub-genre. Though I’m not an atmospheric black metal aficionado I do like this compilation and to experience the progression of this independent musicians project. Well worth checking out for fans of atmospheric black metal, blackgaze, and even depressive suicidal black metal styles.

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Artist Svrm
Type Full-length [Compilation]
Released February 1, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow SVRM on Facebook
Genres Atmospheric Black Metal

Nail in the coffin. 3.5/5.0

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