True Norwegian Black Metal: As silly as it may sound, nobody does it quite like the Norwegians themselves. LJÅ is another new band tackling this style and “Til Avsky For Livet” is their debut album. Prior to this they released some demos as well as a split 7” with KOLDBRANN. This 7” was particularly remarkable for its grand cover picture; unfortunately LJÅ now has a cover that is of much lesser quality albeit true to the Black Metal spirit.
Musically it’s almost impossible to tell that you’re dealing with a 2006 release here. LJÅ’s Black Metal is extremely cold, raw and epic and it might’ve well been released around 1994. In those times classic Black Metal albums were being released like crazy and I’m not saying LJÅ has the same quality as those bands, but some songs get really close and can be considered among the finest of the genre. “Til Satan”, the opener, is one of those songs and it makes a huge statement. The cold high pitched riffs, incredibly intense drumming and great dirty and evil vocals leave no doubt about what style the albums’ going to be, nor the quality of the said album. It’s also a pretty lengthy song, giving the band plenty of opportunity to change the tempo and to incorporate raw melodies in the vein of TAAKE.
The following songs cant keep up with this quality as the intensity seems to decrease a bit but the quality is still high. GORGOROTH styled riffs are combined with old ULVER-like melodies and all this sometimes played with the intensity of MARDUK. Also the band has chosen for a good mix of long songs like the opener and “Tilgi Dem Aldri” as well as shorter bursts like “Blendende Lys”, “Vårtegn” or “Granatsjokk” which is another song equally intense as brilliant and with a vocal delivery to drool over.
The closing track deceivingly has some acoustic guitars being played halfway through the song that could trick the listener into thinking there’s again a typical outro song, but the blasting finish shows that LJÅ are serious about ending the album on a very high note.
Really an album of very high quality, everything has been done before but “Til Avsky For Livet” is way above the average of Traditional Black Metal and should be an essential purchase for all fans of cold and raw Black Metal played with enough feeling for melody and epic atmosphere. (Online April 11, 2006)