Valkyrja – “Yearn To Burn” (Stereogum Premiere)
It’s pretty common for casual listeners (and abject poseurs) to dump all Scandinavian extreme metal into a single bin. Like, take for instance, that Ikea Or Death game. It’s a fun game! But it really should be called Ikea Or Black, because none of the bands named therein play death metal. Valkyrja are a Swedish black metal band — not a shelving unit system — and generally speaking, Swedish black metal bands are distinct from Norwegian black metal bands on an elemental level; the Swedish bands — from Dissection to Naglfar to Craft to Watain — have a basic commitment to traditional metal songcraft and melody that Norwegian bands tend to abandon or ignore. Like Watain especially, Valkyrja sound immediately like a force of nature unleashed, but listen closer and the band’s exacting precision comes into focus. When done right, it’s an intoxicating combination, and Valkyrja do it better than most. The band is set to release their third LP, The Antagonist’s Fire, and fans of Watain’s (frankly inferior) The Wild Hunt would do well to check it out: For all Valkyrja’s complicated and admirable attention to detail, The Antagonist’s Fire is a monstrous, roaring beast first and foremost. We’ve got a song from the album for you to spin today, called “Yearn To Burn,” which precedes the late-November release of The Antagonist’s Fire, a perfect soundtrack for the coming winter. Check it out.
The Antagonist’s Fire is out this month via W.T.C.