Svarte Greiner: Knive

Though Erik Skodvin embraced his dark side in Deaf Center 's 2005 Pale Ravine , the experience clearly wasn't cathartic as Knive, issued under his Svarte Greiner, reveals him plunging even deeper into the abyss. The album's menacing, stripped-down settings are suffused with dread, the lone glimmer of hope symbolized by a woman's supplicating voice which casts momentary shafts of light upon the nine tracks' withered remains.

A blistered hum of feedback inaugurates the disc in “The Boat Was My Friend,” before cello murmurs rise from the scorched earth and crows caw overhead, eyeing prey below. One shudders to think what particular limb might be getting severed in “Easy on the Bones” but there's no question the setting's a harrowing one. Doom-laden strings groan while knife blades are sharpened and chains readied for the next victim. In “The Dining Table,” lost souls moan and whistle over ancient tribal rhythms and droning strings while the writhing scrapes and rattles in “My Feet, Over There” suggest Skodvin is destroying a guitar one piece at a time. “Final Sleep” begins with what sounds like sod being shoveled into an open grave and, as the coffin gradually disappears under the growing layers of earth, the soul trapped within is awakened by a woman's angelic song, perhaps entreating it to arise and ascend. Regardless of the interpretation, it's the album's primary peaceful moment and is all the more powerful for being so.

Like Pale Ravine, the macabre Knive is cinematic in the extreme. Think of it as an aural portrait depicting a scorched and desolate landscape of the mind; filled with nightmare ballads, Knive is the perfect soundtrack for that final descent to Hades.

December 2006