The old saying goes, “First impressions are everything”. Typically this is applied to a person to person meeting wherein one is trying to, well, make an impression. The same can be said for music. Often times a lead-off track sets the tone for what is to come. Such is the case for this brilliant mini-LP by Slægt titled Beautiful and Damned.
Slægt are from Denmark and released the equally impressive Ildsvanger full-length at the beginning of 2015. This mini-LP showcases how the additions of new members can really make a difference (for the better) in a band by allowing the influence of other genres to enter the black metal blueprint.
Things start off with “Move in Chaos” which is now my favorite black metal song of the last few years. The opening riff is intoxicating and will have you instantly headbanging and demanding repeated listens. I’ve honestly listened to this song at least 50 times and I’m still not tired of it. Classic black metal riffing which leads into hints of classical metal guitar dueling. If you (like me) enjoy the last few Immortal albums but wish there was a touch more varietys in the songwriting, here’s your answer.
Things continue to impress with “Alshincheri” before they let off the gas pedal with the beautiful acoustic instrumental “Church of the Night”. The soulfulness and emotion reminds of “Mano De Mono” off of the Deliverance album by Corrosion of Conformity with it’s subtle wave of melancholy. The bands are in no way related musically, but emotionally, the feeling is prevalent.
The final song is the title track which is meant to wind the listener down and give the neck and rest. A great, mid-paced ‘rocking’ song closing out the greatness herein.
For a band so early in their career, this is extremely impressive work. What they’ve done here in about 23 minutes is far superior than most full-lengths I’ve heard this year. Keep your eyes open for Slægt in the future. They’ll be playing some shows and hopefully we’ll hear a new full-length soon!