Perished – Kark

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label: ATMF
Distributor/label: https://www.atmf.net/
Released: 2017
Buy Album: http://eshop.atmf.net
Band Website: https://www.atmf.net/

Band line-up:

Bruthor – Bass Jehmod – Drums
Ymon – Guitars
Bahtyr – Vocals

Tom Arild Johansen – Guitars (Guest/session musician)
Knut Erik Jensen – Synthesiser (Guest/session musician)

Tracklistings:

1. Introduksjon
2. Imens vi venter…
3. Stier til visdoms krefter
4. På nattens vintervinger
5. Iskalde strømmer
6. …og spjuta fauk
7. Befri de trolske toner
8. Renheten og gjenkomsten
9. A Landscape of Flames (bonus track)
10. Kald som aldri før (Ep – bonus track)
11. Gjennom skjærende lys (Ep – bonus track)

Review:

‘Kark’ is the title of Perished’s full-length debut album, originally released back in 1998. A Norwegian atmospheric black metal band which takes its lyrical inspiration from Norwegian folklore and Viking heritage. Although this album was released in 1998, Perished’s earlier releases go back as far as 1993, which makes them a part of the second wave of black metal occurring in Norway at the time which is noticeable when listening to ‘Kark’. However, it also raises the question why ATMF re-released this album in 2017, especially considering the fact that the band disbanded in 2005 and remains the current status of the band.

The re-release on ATMF contains three additional tracks not appearing on the original; two songs from their self-titled 1996 7” EP and one supposedly ‘previously unreleased’ track entitled ‘A Landscape of Flames’. This is the only song on this album that does not have a Norwegian title. I wrote supposedly because their 1994 demo ‘Through the Black Mist’ features this track, but comparing both versions indicate that it has either been re-recorded, or re-mastered, because the sound quality of this 2017-version is much better.

Some of the songs on ‘Kark’ sound dated, but this adds to what it is that makes this album appealing. From the start, the album offers proper black metal, the songs are well-produced performed by solid musicians, and at first I actually liked the album a lot. However, as the album progresses it starts to bore and does well as background music, at times. Nonetheless, some of the tracks have highlights, catchy riffs, but the band uses too much synthesiser in their songs, which makes some of the songs simply annoying to listen to. ‘Iskalde strømmer’ is the exception where the synth actually positively contributes to the atmosphere and the highlight of this release.

However, other tracks where the synthesiser makes its appearances it sounds near cheesy, with ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’, and ruins an otherwise excellent song. The one thing which is a solid constant throughout the album is Bahtyr, the vocalist, whose vocals give every song a raw black metal character and never disappoints at all (and the reason why I don’t rate this album as ‘disappointing’). The bonus tracks are interesting for those who have not heard them yet, but are basically in the same vein as the rest of the songs. Overall, an album that had potential, but failed to live up to that expectation.

The current re-release is a Digipack CD and is limited to 500 copies, but ATMF will release an LP-version in October, but the record will not have the bonus tracks, but instead the first 200 copies will come with a 7” re-release of the EP from which two of the three bonus tracks were taken. It is not a bad CD to have in your collection if the over-use synth sounds does not bother you.

Review by Philosopher King
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