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STRID
STRID
Strid
(Kyrck Productions)
65:36min

There was a time when Norwegian Black Metal had a certain mystique and bands were more interested in creating music with real feeling, than simply repeating clichés and successful formulars of the past. That was an age where bands were not afraid to "experiment" maintaining an obscure and dark feel in their sound, while on the other hand, diversity and personality was characterizing most acts. Although Norwegian bands such as MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE, IMMORTAL, EMPEROR, ENSLAVED and GORGOROTH (to name few) became successful and enjoyed commercial recognition, there have been some other, obscure underground acts that although never made it big, they managed to release some really inspired material gaining posthumous recognition by cultivating a "cult" status years after their demise. One fine example of the above rule is STRID. Initially known as MALFEITOR, STRID formed in 1993 (MALFEITOR formed around 1991) and they did a bunch of really interesting releases. As MALFEITOR the band managed to release two demos (self-titled in 1991, "Pandemonium" in 1992) and as STRID one demo ("End Of Life" in 1993) as well as a self-titled EP in 1994 (released by Malicious Records). Of course all material prepared by this obscure band has been buried by time and if you ask me, it was time that a label (in our case Greek label Kyrck Productions) released a compilation that includes all that out of print material. Moving to the content of the release now, tracks 1 - 2 are taken from the self-titled EP: on that release, the sound of STRID is obviously "depressive" with a certain dismal-"winter" feeling into it, really moody and atmospheric. Apparently, the band has been more interested in a dark / atmospheric approach in their fine Norwegian Black Metal than an aggressive one, which was common for most of their fellow countrymen back then. Track # 3 (with a total playing time of around 11 minutes) is the one and only song composing the "End Of Life" demo tape (more or less in the same direction as the 7 inch) with a similar cold and melancholic feel into it. In fact the music of STRID back then was really "visual", creating cold "soundscapes", reminiscent of the cold, dark Norwegian winters. From that point onwards, we move to the MALFEITOR side of the compilation. Tracks 4 - 8 are from their "Pandemonium" 1992 demo tape, and the material is slightly different from that of STRID. I would categorize it as more "epic" with a distinct BATHORY influence in sound and feeling. The sound of the demo tape is really good (considering date of release) and to be honest I really like the MALFEITOR material even more than I did STRID! The potential of the band is surprising (both as STRID and MALFEITOR) and if they managed to release a full-length album, I am sure we would be talking about a Norwegian classic today! Their self-titled 1991 demo (tracks 9 - 13) is a bit crappy production-wise and it sounds more like a badly dubbed rehearsal tape than a proper demo. It is even more dark and extreme than latter material, with a "necro" sound, not bad for a sporadic listen. And to top it all, a beautiful cover has been used to decorate the cover (released as jewel case CD, leather-bound A5 digibook and vinyl including poster). kyrck.lunar-aurora.de/

Manolis A.

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