There is something about the sound of Kvaen that makes them stand out, maybe being the mastermind and single songwriter gave this record its straight no-holds-barred approach. The sound is melodic to the core and the whirlwinds ignited by the guitar lines will take you straight to the nose of the Viking ships landing on the shores of enemy-kingdoms when the white horses was over the storming troops when jumping into the deep-freeze waters.
It is forged in the steel baths of classic melodic Swedish death and black metal, although Kvaen are definitely not a death metal band. Jakob has created an album that plays with the punkish and speedy roots of black metal and that also openly flirts with thrash metal’s weakness for lightning bolt guitar solos. There is something Thin-Lizzy-like in the way that two guitars lines are dancing around each other, or rather moshing with each other, and the clever arrangement of one high-tuned and one low-tuned line are really brilliant. However, the most impressive thing are the miniscule slowdowns (e.g. in “Yee Naaldlooshii”) where the beats are taken down only half a notch but still so audibly that this short breath of fresh air and change leaves one breathless.
All in all, this is quite a remarkable debut album – but on the other hand it’s not a debut album with it’s usual flaws and youthfulness because it was written by an experienced mastermind and performed by veterans and, most important of all, it doesn’t sound one bit old-fashioned but state-of-the-art and still timeless.