Album Title: Demo '03
This is the second demo CDR from Idvarp, a New Zealand band playing pagan black metal.
This band's style is reminiscent of second-wave black metal, with complex, repetitive riffing over droning bass and blasting drums. The guitar work here is quite well-executed, if a bit raw and messy, as befits the style. The drums are generally clear and crisp, except where they're distorted by the mix. From what I can hear, there's some nice bass work as well, but this is often inaudible due to the mix. The vocals are good, if a bit nondescript.
This band's greatest strength is in songwriting. All of the songs have a good deal of flow, and there are some memorable riffs and transitions here and there, especially in "White Winter's Fields" and "The Quest For Knowledge". Idvarp's lyrics are especially solid. The Asatru theme certainly can't be said to be original, but this band's lyrics have a gnostic twist that gives the songs a thoughtful atmosphere. The only major weakness in Idvarp's songwriting is in the end - of the four songs, only "The Quest For Knowledge" has an ending that seems appropriate. Most of the songs just seem to run down, without a proper climax.
As with almost any demo, there's a lot of room for improvement here, but this is a fine early recording. With a little more cohesion and a better mix, Idvarp's future efforts should be good ones.
Standout Tracks: "White Winter's Fields", "The Quest For Knowledge"