Nefaria/A Tragic Journey Towards the Light

Southern Lord 2007

Striborg apparently has been a pretty influential band on some big names like Sunn0))) for instance.  But somehow this seems a stretch for me.  Striborg entails some fairly typical Burzum inspired black metal with trance inducing riffs, incredibly thin guitars, tiny drums, and screechy vocals.  If I had to place it in comparison to any release I think it would most suitabley fall in line with Burzum's Det Som Engang Var because of the minimalist black metal that gives way to the occasional ambient track.  A good example of this is the track Lament that if you stripped the ridiculous drum machine form it would sound right at home on any Burzum album.  The pacing on Sin-Nanna's compositions is usually at a faster pacing though than Varg's Burzum songs.  This works to Striborg's advantage though I think because it helps maintain a similar atmosphere while still trying to separate itself from some of its contemporaries.  Everything about Striborg seems focused on drawing the listener towards a nearly forgotten era where atmosphere ruled over technical expertise, experimentation, and "Black N Roll" tilted songwriting.  Sin-nanna does manage to create some fairly interesting songs though and one that stands out the most for me is Black Apparitional Void with its hypnotic slow riffing and that silly recurring keyboard segment that somehow manages to transcend its own awkwardness.  That's what it is!  This album is really awkward when analyzed and scrutinized but if you just absorb it in a sort of haze it can be really effective.  This release by influential Doom label Southern Lord is comprised of the Nefaria album with the 1995 demo A Tragic Journey Towards the Light tacked on to the back of it.  So if you like Striborg this is a great value as it clocks in at an hour and 19 minutes of listening time.  The distinction of production quality is instantly noticeable between the two sections of this release.  As expected the mix on the demo material is a lot rougher but still both of the productions jobs manage to suit the atmosphere of the recordings.  The Rawness of the demo only enhances its underground appeal.  Striborg is good at what they do but don't really manage to stand out from any of the other traditional black metal that is spewing forth from the underground in record quantities these days.  If you like atmospheric traditional black metal that recalls the early 90s style yet can handle the music being somewhat pale in comparison to those standards, then Striborg is definitely for you.