Bloody, Ritualistic Darkness: Snogg’s Ritual of the Sun
One song, 37 minutes long, based on various legends regarding sun-worshipping religions, this is the second album by the duo that call themselves Snogg (Ulv on guitars, keyboards, vocals, and rituals; and Morke, on drums and spells), and while it is not a great departure from their previous album, they are doing something different here, and yes, it is very ambitious. It’s hard for most bands to write a three-minute song that can hold your attention. Can Snogg succeed with such a large and sprawling sonic soundscape?
The short answer is: maybe. The longer, more complicated answer comes from the audience. If you’re someone who just wants blastbeats and jackhammering guitars, you’re going to be mighty bored for a long portion of this. In fact, you’re going to just go ahead and skip ahead, if you know what I mean, until you find those nasty guitars that you just know this is building up to. If you’re into ambience, if you’re into epic, suspenseful, moody tension, then you’re going to cream your jeans. For this kind of listener, that opening eleven minutes of drone and dark synths accentuated with sad, lonely piano notes are going to thrill you. Some industrial crust starts creeping into the sound, distorting things, followed by a wall of what sounds like crashing waves, all warped and twisted. Then the poetry starts; slow and dark and creeping, setting the stage for the pagan ceremony that is sure to follow. We’re at just about the 16 minute mark when the bass and guitars dissonantly join the mix, rattling the speakers. Really, between the 14 and 17 minute marks, you have some excellent horror movie soundtrack stuff going on. After this, the music grows, the drums rumbling and beating a primal, simplistic rhythm, so much so you can almost see the naked bodies dancing around the pyre in your mind’s eye. This chanting, this summoning ritual, continues through to the 24 minute mark where things drop back down again, going all ambient, and at this point, as a Black Metal fan, you’re wondering just what the point here is. But as someone into more experimental, ritualistic music, you’re probably pretty damned happy. From here on out, it’s pretty much just a long, long fadeout.
So what’s the verdict? Hard to say with this one. If you want something that’s off the beaten path but still carries a lot of heft and darkness with it, you’re going to be pretty please. If you want anything resembling a Black Metal record, well, you might as well skip this. Snogg aren’t interested in meeting any preconceived notions about who they are and what their musical output should be. They’re interested in putting out what the hell they want to put out. You’re either on board or you’re not.
Three Buckets of Blood out of Four
Kelly is the author of dozens of stories and dozens of reviews. He likes to write, he likes to read, he likes going to the movies, and he loves to laugh. He hails from the wilds of Kentucky and if you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website: www.kellymhudson.comor on Amazon