Review: Svart Lotus – Som Et Vondt År

Band: Svart Lotus
Album: Som et vondt år
Country: Norway
Genre: Black Metal, Doom, Metal
Label: Nekroelvis Records/Hellstain Productions
Release Date: February 9th 2024

The Album


  1. Fyrelogi
  2. Distraction industry
  3. Som et vondt år
  4. Indifference and wrath
  5. Hat og forakt
  6. Cryptic lights
  7. Lurking fear
  8. Svart Lotus

Som et vondt år – Like a painful year

The intro Fyrelogi mystifies, it’s a little frightening; confusing even. There’s a lot going on from changing instruments to background noises, whirring, a violin, and what I am convinced is an Exhale (a plugin) creating an eerie melody and finally a sample from the Silent Hill movie. “Look at me, I’m burning.”
The intro concludes. I watched Silent Hill years ago but I wasn’t paying attention so I’m not sure I can really understand what is going on with the lore of the album YET. I do know that the album cover is from a silent film titled Dr. Mabuse the Gambler.

Distraction Industry is fast and loud with a headbanging riff that transforms into a very well structured song having the catchy intro be used throughout the verses, keeping the songs energy. The breaks in this are great as well, allowing enough difference between the vibe you get at the start, and the dark presence built here is akin to some early Sabbath where they’re not trying too hard to make the music sound dark, it just DOES and it’s seamless.

Next up, Som et vondt år, the albums title track.
Plenty of doom metal riffs and heavy, blackened primal vocals.
Impressive bass parts, also featuring clean singing giving me a High on Fire or maybe a Baroness feel. The album is less black metal and more blackened, where there are typical bm drum fills, tremolo picked riffs and witchy vocals scattered through as opposed to being the sole foundation of each song. You have to enjoy the clean vocals dueling with the harsh demonic lows, a plus for the cleans here is they go along with the melody of the riff creating a depressive, ghoulish ambience. (courtesy of Øyvind)
I like their approach to the genre a lot because I enjoy all types of metal, and sometimes music writes itself and you don’t get to tie it to one specific sound. It just evolves into something new if you cultivate it properly, and these four have learned how to do just that.

A look behind the curtains:

Svart Lotus was formed in 2012 by Tor R. Stavenes, 1349 bassist, as a solo project, soon included Eivin Brye from Djevelkult & Disintegration on drums shortly after material was written, later adding Sigve Jordheim (guitars) in 2013 and Øyvind Kaslegard (bass), also from Disintegration. Their music mixes black metal, doom, heavy metal, and hard rock, with touches of groove and thrash, not trying to hold any one label, just to make what comes natural to them.

Back to the album:

Indifference and Wrath (ft. Jan “Nag” Romøren)
From the start, this song delivers strong death metal vibes, mixing in palm muting and thoughtful melodic sections; a refreshing twist on the usual second wave black metal. It keeps the genre’s cold essence, adding punk and hardcore elements. The band excels at blending groovy death metal with black metal vocals, layering growls and zombie-like screams. Tight drum patterns lead them through intriguing twists, requiring tight synchronization and skill from the entire band. I don’t want to pick favorites yet but this has to be on the top 3 for the album.

Hat og Forakt (Ft. Eldur)
I know Opeth fans are going to love this one, it’s alluring intro with dueling guitar and bass riffs, the painful, emotional singing from Eldur of Fortíð sets the macabre tone. This song could be their best in terms of production and overall concept which says a lot considering its longer runtime. If it were any other black metal song it might be stretching itself a bit thin but here we get a blend of many different styles that sound awesome, using choral melodies growing alongside intense kick patterns, acoustic guitars and headbanging rhythmic sections with chunky, violent palm muted riffs. Some might see this as oversaturated, but I couldn’t disagree more. The ending is drawn out but keeps up with the established tone while a sample of the famous, Pale Blue Dot segment from Carl Sagan’s book of the same name marches along.

Cryptic Lights seamlessly blends the velocity and darkness of death metal with the essence of black metal, particularly through its vocals and riffs, yet it ventures into a unique progressive structure. The track distinguishes itself with a haunting guitar solo by Jarrett Pritchard, who also is responsible for mixing and mastering the album. Its tone shifts from dismal to eerily atmospheric, with droning guitar riffs crafting a chilling ambiance. This song not only maintains the album’s intensity but enriches it with its distinct, haunting progression.

Lurking Fear
“Let there be night!” makes a compelling opening line. Additionally, the album’s vocal mixing, with its heavy reverb, suggests the screams were recorded in a cavern. The riffs, especially in the chorus are crafted to enhance this cavernous sound without overwhelming it, subtly building their atmosphere. This element, whether inspired by the song’s title or its inherent mood, subtly weaves a sense of creeping terror into the music.

Svart Lotus (ft. Nag)
The intro’s captivating acoustic riff, matched by a rising rhythm that doubles the melody’s triplets, sets a frigid tone early on. A thunderous riff then dominates from the rhythm, punishing us for a few minutes while Tor shouts and then the song begins leading to a break where the tempo stays strong and the song shifts into a mysterious or maybe an introspective mood. Heavy, gnashing vocals fade out giving the band what is essentially a 2 minute jam session down to the final chugging breakdown and melodic end to an adventurous tape.

Favorite song: It’s between Cryptic Lights and Svart Lotus, I choose both as they’re each GREAT black metal earworms.


This album is packed with classic black metal riffs, emotive, pained vocals, dense, punchy drumming, guitar solos, a few “core” elements here and there; and all enhanced by Pritchard’s exceptional production. All artists delivered their best, reflecting significant effort and craftsmanship, developing something cold, grim and fascinating as hell; I think it will appeal to open-minded black metal enthusiasts for years to come.

I rate this album a 9/10

YouTube player

Support them here:

Buy physical here:

Your Thoughts On This Album?

Do you like it or hate it? You can share your opinion on our social media channels, or join us on discord, where we discuss all things black metal! Make sure to follow our Facebook page, Black Metal Zine, to receive notifications when we publish articles. Also check out our Instagram at @blackmetal.zine for concert pictures and more!