Nima : The Norwegian Susperia was founded in the year 2000 by drummer Tjodalv (a.o. ex-Dimmu Borgir) together with musicians who have their roots in the black metal scene. Although the music initially contained a lot of black metal influences the band took more and more a (modern) thrash turn. With their latest studio release, ’Attitude’ (2009), the band delivered one of its most versatile albums, which they also showed a more melodic side of themselves. Things were going well for the men at the time, but eventually it became rather quiet in the Susperia-camp.
This month, nine long years after ‘Attitude’, Susperia finally comes with the successor. Of course I was curious whether or not the time had had a negative influence on the sound and the style, especially since this is also the first album without vocalist Atera! As soon as the album takes off with ‘I Entered’ it is clear that they have at least not become softer. On the contrary, the song summons the atmosphere of the band’s early days. Sturdy, hacking riffs, black metal elements that remind of Dimmu Borgir’s ‘Spiritual Black Dimensions’ and Immortal’s ‘Damned In Black’, blastbeats and an overall more aggressive approach, but also sturdy heavy/power metal influences. The latter is mainly because of the new vocalist Bernt ‘Dagon’ Fjellestad (a.o. Guardians of Time) whose clean voice is similar to Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) and Piet Sielck (Iron Savior). However, the man is a versatile vocalist and frequently switches between heavy, thrash, death and black vocals. The song blasts away immediately and makes an overall good first impression in general. On the following ‘Heretic’ the gentlemen take on an even sturdier approach and especially the black metal influences are more obvious initially. And fortunately we come across those black metal tunes a lot more often on this album.
Although the black and thrash metal influences are the most dominant in general, every track also contains influences from both the traditional and modern heavy/power metal corners, but also doom, Gothic and progressive extreme metal. Think for example of the later Emperor, Enslaved, Borknagar, etc. And so the songs are chugged with tempo- and mood changes and are quite complex. Therefore the album initially makes a confusing, incoherent and “illogical” impression. There is so much going on that the music demands a lot of focus. So if you get distracted for a moment you will lose the trail, so to speak. This is definitely a complex piece of work and the kind of album that needs to grow on you. Therefore ‘The Lyricist’ will not sit as well with some, and even more so the chances are that the overflow of diversity will cost the album its head. But anyway, if you give it the time then the pieces of the puzzle will slowly fall into place better and better.
Personally I do find it all a bit too much and would rather have heard more of the aggressive approach. Besides that it all sounds a bit too digital and too smooth to me, and therefore the totally picture doesn’t have the impact it could have had. But at the same time I must also say that all in all I’m definitely not disappointed, and especially the return of the black metal influences do me quite well. All in all ‘The Lyricist’ is a strong comeback and the band will not only please the older fans, but will also gain new ones. That said; I think it may be wise if they would keep the diversity a bit more limited in the future. Less is more, isn’t it?