Urarv – Argentum Review

Band: Urarv
Album: Argentum
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release Date: 1 June, 2018

So here we have a weird one, and depending on your tolerance for something different, you’ll either get great joy out of this album or grating pain. I fall more towards the former, although I have to admit, despite multiple listens, I still find it jarring in spots and challenging in others. But then again, I like that sort of thing. By the end of the year, this might be on my top 10 list because this is definitely a grower and not a release that will instantly appeal to many listeners.

Björn Aldrahn Dencker of DHG and The Deathtrip and Thorns fame is the spearhead of this project and this EP contains songs recorded at the same time as their last album, Aurum. But do not treat this as a collection of cast-away songs or compositions that weren’t good enough to make the first release. Instead, if you’re already a fan, you get the opportunity to follow a parallel line of thinking, a series of songs that could have been on Aurum but were not. You’re given a chance to contemplate how things might have played out differently, all the while getting more killer tunes in the process.

But what if you’re like me, a novice to the band? I hadn’t heard song one from them before this opportunity. How did it play out for someone like me?

On first listen, I didn’t care for it much. It wasn’t the harshness or the abrasiveness of the tracks, but it was the almost jaunty feel. The songs kind of…hop, and I don’t mean that in a moshpit of folks jumping at the same time kind of way, but more like an actual rabbit. Urarv are somehow able to compose songs that are deadly serious and brutal as hell, while at the same time giving them a circus-like feel. They jump around and frolic while at the same time they’re ripping off your head and drinking the spurting blood from you neck. I don’t know how, but it works for me. I can easily see others turning it off and walking away but I came back for more. And more. And more.

I have a limit for romp in Metal. I don’t take my favorite music too seriously, and I can laugh at the comic-book nature of a lot of bands. Hell, I love Manowar and their cheesiness does nothing to make me run away. But then you get into stuff like Pirate Metal and I’m gone, man. I’m not knocking it, I’m just saying, it’s too far in the other direction for me. I can see how some would see this Urarv release in the same kind of light, with all the howls and squeals and madness, but for me, it was pretty interesting, especially songs like “Aurum” that move all over the place. You’ve got Black Metal mixed with atmosphere mixed with pure insanity. And the emotions involved in pieces like this are laid bare. Even if you don’t like it, you can’t deny the passion. In the end, I guess that’s why this has me coming back for more: you can tell the band poured their hearts out, and when you mix that with the obvious talent on display, you’ve got yourself a winner.

If you want to take a walk on the strange side, consider taking this Urarv album along for the ride. It’s well worth the time and effort and will most probably expand your ideas on what music can do. I gave it a “7” because, for me, it is a pure “8,” but those not into it would give it a definite “6.” So I split the difference. If you like weird and experimental, you’ll dig this, and if you don’t, you’ll at least recognize its competence.

Rating: 7/10

1. Ahaman Inikad Mo
2. Kraketjott
3. Aurum
4. Satori
5. Sannhet
6. Soloppgang

Total Playing Time: 25:35

  1. Dan

    I agree, Urarv is a strange beast. I’ve been following them since day 1 and consider this better than their debut. Personally I would give it an 9 or 10, as it really fits my preferences in many ways. But then again, I’m very used to avant-garde metal, and I’m not really very put-off by any of their elements.
    Decent review, but I’m against giving it a 7 “to comromise with others”. Seriously, that’s ridiculous. Should be given an 8 if that’s how you would rate it.

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