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  • Jason Hesley

Kvaen: Swedish Melodic Death/Black Metallers to Release “The Formless Fires” Full-Length June 21st on Metal Blade Records!


KVAEN will release their third album, and first for Metal Blade Records, The Formless Fires, on June 21st.


There are many great extreme metal bands in Sweden, but only one from Kalix. This remote beauty spot near the Finnish border, on the northernmost shores of the Baltic, is home to Jacob Björnfot, creative mastermind behind melodic black/death metal project, KVAEN.


A sumptuous but bitingly intense exploration of beauty and violence, KVAEN‘s The Formless Fires is a melodic black metal masterwork radiating an inspirational sense of place. Even more than 2020′s folky, speed metal-infused debut The Funeral Pyre or 2022′s compelling, expansive follow-up, The Great Below, the vast pine woods and icy lakes are powerfully evoked in the elemental gloom riffs, chilly melodies, and windswept solos running through these eight mighty songs.


Assisting in this record’s immersive sweep are Björnfot’s fascinating lyrics. Like many Swedish songwriters, his use of English reveals a love and care for the language that few native speakers even bother to rival. If this album seems less intimate and more universal than the raw candor of its predecessor, it’s only because Björnfot’s knack for allegory has improved. Illuminating some of the lyrical themes, Björnfot asserts “I love mythology. ‘Basilisk’ is, for example, the king of serpents but is rarely mentioned by the mainstream. ‘The Perpetual Darkness’ is about being born different from those who are ‘normal.’ It is also about being a lone wolf and banished from society. That song has become a personal favorite of mine.” Additionally, ‘De Dödas Sång (Song Of The Dead)’ tackles the disturbing theme of Ättestupa, the ancient Norse suicide ritual whereby elderly villagers jump to their deaths from sheer precipices.


Comments Björnfot on the record’s eponymous opening track and first single, “‘The Formless Fires’ was actually written for another project of mine featuring members from Dissection, Lord Belial, Sacramentum, and Naglfar but I convinced myself to keep it for the next KVAEN album instead and I’m glad I did – this is one of my top favorites off the new album.

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