Blodarv – Soulcollector
Reviewed by Oct 22nd, 2009

This was a bit harder to review and get into, I have to say, due to the inclusion of female vocalist Isaz, and while on one hand, when people bitch about female vocals based just on their being female, that makes me want to punch such people in the face, on the other hand, I don’t much care for clean vocals in general, and that goes for men too for the most part. While this album has grown on me a lot, I wonder if I would’ve liked it so much if I hadn’t heard the earlier/later stuff with only Hugin doing vocals first. I have mixed feelings on Isaz’s vocals here, which are included in parts of most of the songs on this album. I like them on “Nitiria Amlech” and “Kaldet fra Fjeldet;” I like them less on “Den rode sten” and the title track, where it just sounds too flat and dull to me.

Once again, because I listened to the albums out of order, I feel like I’ve heard some of this already. I have heard some of this already, namely on Linaria Amlech, Deamonis and Beyond Life, but the version of “Beyond Life” on this is almost shockingly different than the other version. The drums are audible, the vocals are a bit more subdued and depressing-sounding, and the biggest difference of course is that parts are sung by Isaz in this version. Isaz has a very nice, clear voice that contrasts well with Hugin’s screaming, but it still took me a bit of getting used to, though now I’ve decided I like this version a lot too. It’s sadder-sounding. “Langt vaek fra livet” is the song that made me realize that I do really like Isaz’s vocals also, though parts of “Soulcollector” are just a bit too pretty and sweet-sounding for me to deal with. It should probably be mentioned that these parts are a sort of dialogue in which Isaz is providing the female voice, and looking at the lyrics (these parts are in quotations there) it begins to make a bit more sense and fit together better, and one begins to realize that it is one the strengths of this album and not a weakness. Isaz’s vocals add to the cold and creepy atmosphere rather than detract from it. The singing in “Den Rode Sten” is really weird and somehow reminds me of the days I used to spend listening to Led Zeppelin backwards on the record player.

This is split into two parts corresponding to side A and side B (supplemented by the 7″ which has an extra track), these being the chapter of the Soulcollector and the Chapter of the Thousand Years Tale. The first half has a more depressing feel to it and ends with an instrumental; I think I like side B a bit better, the guitar parts are bit catchier and faster-paced in parts, but on the whole it’s very well-written, if rather weird.

Otherwise the LP version just has to be mentioned because the sleeve layout, etc. is amazing and it comes with a poster (I hung it over the mirror in my room, so I don’t accidentally ever look at myself while passing the mirror) and a 7″ with the last 3 tracks on here, the 12th track is only on the LP version. This is really weird, atmospheric and unique stuff though, and something I am glad to have in my collection.
Blodarv @ Myspace

Northern Silence


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