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2. Köldens Union
3. 1160 (Miovik)
4. I Väntan På Den Absoluta Nollpunkten
5. Evig Köld Koncentrerad
7. Fjällhöga Nord
8. Bortgång Af Alvrödul, Ljusets Förfall
Truth be told, Istapp is a band that, at least by surface appearances, should be one that I normally would avoid. Although Metal Blade has been a fine record label over the decades, I tend to find bands that land there are, well, professional and dull. Moreover, Istapp plays a melding of melodic death metal and black metal which has been performed by, according to last count, eighty-three thousands bands. But the utter awesomeness of "I Väntan På Den Absoluta Nollpunkten" convinced me to give the entire album a listen. And I'm rather glad I did now.
According to the metal-archives database, Istapp waxes lyrical about "Winter, Anti-Light, Anti-Sun, Absolute Zero" and other such fine topics. Since they write their lyrics in Swedish, I'm not privy to exactly how much coldness and darkness is being discussed, but ironically Blekinge is a hot album with anti-grim production. As one might surmise with a Metal Blade band, Istapp are pro musicians and have been given a quality studio treatment. No one got cute and decided to remove the bass frequencies from the mix, for instance. As a result, the record has a good sound and although it's been polished, it's not so overly sanitized that it loses the authenticity. Istapp, as stated above, plays a melodic style that borrows a bit from the Swedish death metal background, but has a healthy dose of speedy black metal involved as well. The majority of the vocals are of the harsh variety, though they are spit out with convincing force. They do incorporate clean vocals here and there, particularly on the aforementioned "I Väntan På Den Absoluta Nollpunkten". From what I can gather, this is the song that Vintersorg has been trying to perform for the last fifteen years. The clean singing on there is reminiscient of that fellow, except for Istapp does it correctly. The clean singing on Blekinge is top notch and utterly nails the triumphant, wave-your-beer-stein mood of the song.
Blekinge is an extremely catchy and well performed record. Yes, it's in a style that's been generally played to death in the last decade plus, but somehow they managed to come up with ten songs that are worth hearing, even for jaded ears.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 03/2012