SVART VINTER is a black metal band from Italy founded in 2021 by guitarists Luca Gagnoni and Emanuela Marino, who are also covering the same role in doom-death act VEIL OF CONSPIRACY. As a well-matched couple in real life, their synergy is pretty clear in their music and provides a distinctive flavor to the whole thing. The role of vocalist has been given to Noctem Aeternus, hailing from Argentina and active with a few projects since 2015. The band’s debut album, “Mist,” has published a very limited amount of physical copies via the Italian record label Black Mass Prayers on September 15th, 2022.
An undisputed common thread heard in all of the seven songs on the album is a distinctive combination of rage and melancholy – not a new topic in the genre for sure, but it is hard to convey such a feeling in a classy and somewhat original way, being that massive influences of a typical DSBM approach can often lead to kind of cheap and ineffectual results. This is not the case, since both in terms of songwriting and atmosphere, the band proves to have clear ideas, as well as the skills required to achieve a great result.
Opening track “Gale” immediately feels like a perfect soundtrack for a walk on your own in a beautiful yet distressful scenery; this is likely to be considered another important common thread, since the accurate depiction of a creepy landscape is the main topic in all of the seven tracks’ lyrics. The following tune, “Pyre,” has a faster pace compared to the previous song. Its drum-work is quite interesting and unpredictable, yet perfectly consistent with the principles of second wave black metal in its various expressions. One feature that might not get immediately noticed is the one-word title of each song, with the tracklist looking like some sort of a seven-step journey, where the listeners can either get lost or find a part of themselves.
An unpredictable structure with some interesting changes of pace can be found in “Decay,” which I consider to be one of the highlights on this impressive debut. An eerie and evocative intro on “Catharsis” opens up the way to another remarkable track, whose guitar-work is equally classy and grim; its ruthless vocals do really give an extra kick to an already formally perfect song, which gains even more points thanks to an unexpected and excellent guitar solo.
Speaking of, the guitar solo on following tune “Absence” works as that magical ingredient one wants to keep as a family secret: it is there, everyone knows it is there, but only the owner of the recipe has the right to make good use of it. The song is infused with melancholy, due to straightforward and efficient guitar work, while both drums and vocals convey a suffocating sense of loss.
A rock-oriented pace in second-to-last tune “Vinter,” along with a good combination of black metal elements, make this another track to stand out from the rest. “Frost” is a perfect closer for a debut album that sounds nothing like a first work, since both compositions and the interpretations on “Mist” do suggest a high level of expertise and passion.
All-in-all, SVART VINTER’s debut album is a tasty treat to any black metal fan who is looking for something new, while keeping an eye on the classics and, for my part, I am already looking forward to the next chapter.
Written by Licia Mapelli
Luca Gagnoni – guitars, bass, drum programming
Emanuela Marino – guitars
Noctem Aeternus – vocals
Black Mass Prayers