It looks like the City of Calvin in Switzerland is a haven for Extreme Metal. I am sure that this would rub Mr. C the wrong way. But – alas – he’s gone for some time. And now there’s all that metal debauchery rampant in the streets of this lake-bound city with nobody to quell the surge.
Debauchery? Hell, no. If anything, you’ll find some serious guitar prowess around those dark corners. And Singularity will deliver its fair share, make no mistake. Stortregn really pulls that pedal to the metal right from the beginning. But more to that later.
And truly, once you get to the opening piece of the album, you kind of expect Bruce Dickinson to take over, but nope. A special form of speedy blackened Death Metal awaits a little further down the road. And they indeed appear to follow in the wake of outfits like Cradle of Filth, so much so that I am hearing Dani Filth and his scream straight as the opening shot.
Somewhat filthy their style is, true. And we get the connection to their Scandinavian brethren at times. Yet, it is their very own brand of reasonably melodic, yet straight-in-your-face type of raspy Death and – yes – some Black Metal. In other words, Singularity will serve you with a pretty stiff mix of metal and acoustics, one that forms its very own brand. And we positively basked in its ferocity and seething heat.1)
The band formed back in 2005, and let loose with a first EP in 2008. Then followed their first full-length The Uncreation in 2011. 2013 saw the appearance of their sophomore studio album Evocation of Light. To their credit, they also played the 2015 Wacken Festival, being one of the finalists of the Swiss Wacken Metal Battle.
Now, with Singularity, they upped the ante to a new degree. To pimp this up some more, the album features several guest appearances. Yet, unless other bands, this boosts the vitamin level of the album. And it also explains the ghosts playing guitar on this record.2)
Now, you need to savor that first assault called Enlighten Salvation. An acoustic guitar kicks off the tune. Just when you ask yourself where this might all end, an insane, great fucking double solo of electric guitars takes over for the first minute or so. And that just whacked us over the head like Thor’s sledgehammer.
But fear naught. The action seriously starts remorselessly right after that mercifully short and insanely juicy intro. An alluring set of Black Metal rasps and Death Metal growls hits the soundtracks and maintains its energy throughout Singularity. All of that boasts a sustained diet of meaty riffs right down the tracklist – and no discernible keyboard far and wide.
Basic, barebone, fucking metal.
The second track – Acosmic Ascendant – continues down this road, seemingly opened by one of these nightmare sculptures coughed up by H.R. Giger. The riffing on that one is just stellar, by the way.
Now, let me point out Vertigo to you. An outstanding track. And it actually gets two solos out into the open in a record that excels in them already. At first, you get more of an – what to call it – extended riffing. But a little down the road, a very mature solo follows the other one. All this embeds into a blackened Death Metal jambalaya that this team truly reveled in.
Often you will find that bands try to beat you into the dust through extensive drum-work. But on Singularity, you won’t find that. Not that they lack decent drum work, far from it. Brutal? Check. Ever-present? Check. But never overly clicky, superfluous, or overdone. Or in other words, if you need an example of annoying stick-wielding, try the snare disaster on Metallica’s St Anger.3) This record ain’t one of them.
And indeed, this also speaks towards the mixing/mastering effort. Not once throughout the effort did I have the impression that stuff went missing. Perhaps apart from the often inaudible bass. But this is an issue that we found with this band only.
And I love this slight prog flavoring that Stortregn suddenly injects – for example – on Aurora. But, there is this thin red line not to cross, and this means to avoid over-doing it. Elegy kind of destroys the menacing and metal-laden atmosphere that reigned supreme before. And this in turn makes for a pretty disappointing ending shot. Because Neverending Singularity didn’t really fix the damage its predecessor just wrought.
So, to conclude, Singularity is a rock-solid, tastily blackened Death Metal album. Speedy, aggressive, and right down there in Hel’s kitchen where this belongs. The blood-red meaty riffing and – indeed – the savvy soloing are at a very high technical level. And this goes together with the rasps and growls that just provide this irresistible pull to continue down the tracklist. Add drums and bass into the fray, and you got the mix for a stellar record.
Besides, the way Stortregn manages to spice up down-in-the-pit Death and Black Metal sounds finally won them the brownie points needed to convince this grouchy squad of reviewers. There you go.
And this is a band with the potential to go farther, much farther. We will see more of them in the future, I am sure.
Editor’s note: Don’t forget to check out their 2018 album Emptiness Fills The Void. Oh, and this is a new version of the old review of June 2016.