Album review: Bloodlet Throne – Sovngarde (2022)

Bloodlet Throne is the solo black metal project of Malacath (also the brains behind Winterfell and Xanthos). His sound features influences ranging from the typical second-wave set, to DSBM like Drowning the Light and Xasthur.

Sovngarde features eight original songs and a cover of Burzum’s “War.” Dungeon-synth elements are evident on the intro and spoken word closer, but generally the album doesn’t rely on synthesizers. Malacath is a talented vocalist and guitarist, and it is his riffs and screams that take center stage. There is also a tonal, modern rock element to his songwriting that is uncommon for one-man black metal. In my opinion, this knack for melodic and structural simplicity actually sets a proficient instrumentalist apart from (and above) one who merely fetishizes their own technical ability.

The trick is knowing when to blend low-fidelity aggression with rock-oriented simplicity (and how much). Some tracks such as “Eternal Frost” and “Glory” lean too far in one direction or the other; Varg-worship for the former and two-chord repetition in the latter. Malacath is at his best on “Longing” and “Realms From Which They Came,” which are well-structured while also raw heavy/black metal in style.

In general, Sovngarde does a good job showcasing Malacath’s songwriting and development, especially as a guitarist in my opinion. Although bookended by synth tracks, at times the record doesn’t form a cohesive whole and feels more like two extended plays compiled together. Still, it is accessible for its style, and worth a listen for fans of recent Drowning the Light and early Burzum.

Standout tracks: “Realms from Which They Came” and “Sovngarde”

Rating: 7/10


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