Black Metal Evolved
It is undebatably difficult to correlate the serene album art of Vattnet Viskar’s Settler to the music therein. In a music shop, it would look misplaced but eye catching amongst the typical artwork found on Black metal albums. Chris Alfieri, the guitarist, stated the cover art was based on a picture of Christina McAuliffe, a victim of the Challenger explosion in 1986. The picture shows the woman at “the peak of life, only to have it all gone right after.” The band based the entire album around the picture and the idea of growing as a person, becoming something else, something better.
This knowledge actually takes the entire feel of the album up a notch. Vattnet Viskar hit their mark, producing a sonic exposé of the feelings of striving and just living as evidenced by tracks like “Glory,” which uses heavy and sometimes panicked guitar lines paired with the steady drums. Other songs, such as the titular track “Settler,” show a bit of the darker side of the album’s idea, with emphasis on the lyrics.
The weakest song on the album would have to be “Heirs,” and that is mostly due to the intro where there is a great deal of drum mashing. Thankfully, the song picks back up later with wistful guitar and gets back on point. The band’s own transformation is apparent; this album being far less sludgy and more technical than its predecessor, Sky Swallower. In fact, only two songs, “Coldwar” and “Yearn,” really hone on that familiar sludgy feel.
Overall, the album is very good, although a bit more evolved than standard Black metal. In truth, calling it merely Black metal seems insufficient, as Black metal is infinitely less hopeful and at times skillful. No instrument is used to excess, and clichés, such as excessive use of double kick, are not overused throughout this album. Vattnet focused on a beautiful idea and produced an album that encompassed it perfectly. Without reproach, work like this can only be hoped for in the future of Vattnet Viskar.