Black metal, much like other genres, is at its best and most vibrant when its roots can be easily traced (this isn’t to discredit left-field artists, but familiarity is really key here). Following a logical procession, Dutch black metal band Shagor‘s sound is unique in its own right — atmospheric, riff-laden, and aggressive — but it is also familiar and easy to digest as a result. On their debut, titled Sotteklugt, Shagor’s deference to second-wave-and-beyond classics make for a cozy listen, but their own convictions and strength in composition take this album over the edge and into “powerful” territory.
Shagor’s music is that of musical lineage, and one can pick out their various influences as Sotteklugt progresses, but what makes this album stand out among the pretenders is its own sense of identity. Instead of “sounding like” a classic album, Sotteklugt‘s persuasions feel like a classic instead of some pretender or emulation. Shagor’s black metal is classic, rather than like a classic.
(Sotteklugt releases Friday on Babylon Doom Cult Records.)