The album Vertigo (2013) is a further sign of how black metal is changing and that especially classic Norwegian black metal is now dying out. Vertigo marks in fact even for Koldbrann a turn toward black'n roll. This change is evident already in the aesthetics of the band that has adopted a new logo in strange characters that I do not know if they are more reminiscent of something Soviet or fascist. But above all, the band has abandoned face painting.
The album definitely has an excellent production and is technically flawless; the guitarists have certainly implemented the role of lead guitar. On the other hand it does not sound very appealing, it lacks a real pathos, a climax, a real grandeur, and nothing remains imprinted in the mind of the listener at the end of the listening. This does not mean that Vertigo is not a good album, on the contrary one has the feeling that it is a sincere and studied album.
The new turn in the sound of Koldbrann is evident from the very first notes of the opener “IntroVertigo” that is for sure a very good song. Another very beautiful song is “Drammen”, entitled after the hometown of Koldbrann; it contains engaging riffs in tremolo and mid-tempo and a beautiful solo guitar. Many of the best songs are in the second half of the album, such as “Phantom Kosmonaut”, “Goat Lodge” and “I eklipsens skimmer”. “Goat Lodge” has a sad and melancholy atmosphere and contains a solo that is halfway between blues and modern rock, while “I eklipsens skimmer” has a riffing that ir reminescent of the style of later Satyricon. It should be noted that throughout the album Koldbrann makes use of additional vocals from guest
singers and ‘unorthodox’ instruments such as the trumpet in “Stolichnaya Smert”, which is one of the worst moments of the album above all because of a very ugly part in clean falsetto.
Compared to Moribund, Koldbrann has expanded the use of the English language, so that in Vertigo the lyrics are half in Norwegian and half in English. In an era in which one hears often speaking of bankruptcies and economic crisis, Koldbrann brings metaphorically this concept to the inner self and speaks of a spiritual bankruptcy (“Totalt Sjelelig Bankerott”). I do not think, however, that this is just an introspective discourse. In this context it is inevitable that the texts also speak of suicide. The song dedicated to the hometown of the band, “Drammen”, could not be but in Norwegian. The city is represented in an almost surreal and alienating way, populated by “sleepwalkers of civil tyranny” (“Søvngjengere av det sivile tyranny”). In general, however, the text writing is very accurate.
Vertigo is a good album and in its black'n roll evolution it is definitely less repetitive and dull than later Satyricon, the founders of this type of evolution. However, even considering experimentation, it is far from the level of Moribund, an album that contains songs that are milestones of black metal; the latest by Koldbrann will likely not remain in history, but it is worth a listen.
Koldbrann means ‘gangrene’ in Norwegian. Vertigo was released on January 25, 2013 through Season of Mist as:
-Regular jewelcase CD
-Gatefold Double-LP (black vinyl + red transparent vinyl - each is limited and handnumbered to 250 copies)
-Digipak edition, limited to first pressing
The album was dedicated to the memory of Trond "Trondr Nefas" Bråthen (1977 - 2012) and of Jonas Raskolnikov Christiansen, aka Jonas aus Slavia, (1979 - 2011) band member in Koldbrann 2002 - 2003.
2. “Totalt sjelelig bankerott”
3. “Hjertets Holodomor”
5. “Stolichnaya Smert”
6. “Terminal Transnistrii”
7. “Phantom Kosmonaut”
8. “Goat Lodge”
9. “I eklipsens skimmer”
10. “Sans soleil”
11. “Inertia Corridors”
Vocals in “Goat Lodge”
Trumpet in “Stolichnaya Smert”
Vocals (backing) in “Stolichnaya Smert”
Guitar solo in “Stolichnaya Smert”
Guitar solo in “Drammen”
Vocals in “Totalt sjelelig bankerott”