Sometimes bands that begin as “side projects” are destined to live in the shadows of their members’ main bands, even when all evidence demonstrates that they have become living things in their own right, with their own personalities and strengths, and bright futures of their own. That is certainly true of the Norwegian black metal band Svart Lotus, which began as the solo project of 1349 bassist Tor R. Stavenes and has come to include Disintegration members Eivin Brye (drums) and Øyvind Kaslegard (bass), as well as guitarist Sigve Jordheim.
This isn’t to suggest that people are failing to give Svart Lotus the recognition they deserve, but it might be to suggest that not enough people are doing that. The band may have begun as a way for Tor R. Stavenes to spread his wings, picking up the guitar and using his own voice and songwriting talents, but it has blossomed into a musically compelling entity that’s both true to the spirit of Norwegian black metal but also adventurous.
Photo by Knut Bry
So far, Svart Lotus have put out a 2016 self-titled EP and an even more eye-opening 2018 debut album (Stemmer fra dypet), and they have taken to the stage, supporting Mork on a Norwegian tour and also performing at Bergen’s prestigious Vill Vill Vest. On June 16th they will be adding to those accomplishments by releasing a new single named “”Nekroestetikk“, which we’re honored to premiere today.
The title of the song is an interesting play on words. You could interpret it as “death aesthetic”, but also as “death ecstatic” — and it’s the latter meaning that seems to ring truest in the music. The song has a visceral appeal, even in its most sinister and vicious aspects, but it also becomes completely exhilarating.
From almost the very beginning the song carries a strong, primal, physical pulse thanks to the thrusting hum of the bass and the thundering backbeat of the drums, but the brief soloing near the start (performed by Jarrett Pritchard) foreshadows the ecstasy yet to come.
The opening riff has the same kind of physical power as the rhythm section, but rakes with menacing intent, and the vocals (performed by both Tor R. Stavenes and Øyvind Kaslegard) in a kind of call-and-response) lash and scorch with savage, firebrand intensity. The riffing morphs into a swirling, darting, glorious sound as the snare drum continues to crack the whip, and the song also erupts into a breathtaking display of wild energy. The drumming accelerates, and the music rockets into the stratosphere, fueled by a spectacular, fret-burning guitar solo. The sensation is absolutely thrilling, but so is the return of that main, carnally compelling riff — which you then realize has already gotten stuck in your head.
CREDITS: The music and lyrics were written by Tor R. Stavenes. Guitars were recorded at Seljetun/Black Floor studios, and the drums, bass and vocals were recorded at Brye Studios. The track was mixed and mastered by Jarrett Pritchard at New Constellation, and the cover art is by Eivin Brye.
Keep an eye on the Svart Lotus Facebook for info about how the song will be released.