Review Summary: An emotional release.7 of 7 thought this review was well written
Depressive Black metal. One of the more divisive of metal subgenres, some find it one of the most brilliant forms of black metal, while others find it impossible to take seriously. Either way, Konkurs
is an album that will provoke strong feelings in the listener. It is a cold, stark, and soul-baring journey into the depths of a tortured mind; not exactly a feel-good album, but certainly an interesting one.
The first thing that strikes the listener are the vocals, which are definitely the hardest part of the record to get into. Vocalist/guitarist Kim Carlsson a.k.a "( )"doesn't hold back on this record; delivering a nihilistic performance that gives the record much of its character: a mix of choked screams (often breaking into sobs), with passionate talking and the occasional evil, high-pitched shriek. The sheer amount of emotion in his voice can be a bit off-putting on initial listens (see: opening track "Shallow" and "Konvulsion") and it's definitely not for everyone, but he is certainly effective in getting across his feelings. The lyrics, naturally, deal with depression and misanthropy and, though they are in Swedish, it is well worth looking up a translation.
On the instrumental side, the guitars form a sort of soundscape that enhances the cold, melancholy feel; this is, after all, a style of music very reliant on creating a certain atmosphere. The guitarists stray away from the usual fuzzy, tremolo picking; delivering lush, melodic riffs and harmonies that infuse the album with a certain catchiness. The emphasis on melody is pronounced; this is not an especially aggressive album and, as such, the drumming mostly stays in the background. The bass, a rarity for the genre, is fairly audible, especially on the track "Alltid-Aldrig". Several of the songs also have short ambient outros, which add to the overall atmosphere.
effectively communicates a depressing atmosphere. The vocals are excellent, the riffs are quite original, and it just feels authentic; the raw emotion present is undeniable. However, this album is not for everyone. The vocals are a love it or hate it thing and it is has a rather bloated running length, but these are not damning flaws for most. The band's career would later be cut short by main composer/guitarist Jonas Bergqvist's tragic death, but they left behind an album that (along with their earlier work) stands as a fine example of Depressive Black metal.