Minneriket – „Stjerner, speil og svartebøker…”
Akslen Black Art Records

The driving force behind Minneriket is Stein Akslen, who has already achieved collaborative success in Norway’s critically acclaimed Black Metal band Blodsgard.Akslen has also established a firm presence
with the dark ambient solo project V0id&Khaos.In Minneriket, he has fully released the passionate darkness of his mind into a musical format that is both disturbing and fulfilling, a near-psychotic break in the glassy thin turbulent shell of today’s world.This is Minneriket second album,”Stjerner, speil og svartebøker…” is a harsh and unrelentingly cruel descent into the darkest forests and the bleakest realms of the soul. It had a very distinct guitar tone and a distinct dark atmosphere. This album follows suit, with a distinct feeling on it, based on the dark visions of the soul. The guitar tone is sometimes very cathartic, and atmospheric, while keyboard is featured all the time, with strong keyboard tones mixed with strange ethereal tones. The bass is less audible then before but still the bass is quite strong and clean, providing a strange framework, sometimes it becomes more audible, sometimes less. The vocals tend to be more agressive as well than the debut album „Vargtimen”. But there is a distance on here, perhaps less cruel feeling, but still quite strong.Minneriket is not concerned with the listeners own perceptions. You have to get used to his methods, which is more like early black metal.There is a very thick atmosphere, which is made up of constantly reverberating feedback and dissonant notes on guitar,and make an overall feeling of dread and combine for a soundtrack not to be listened to with the lights out.Stein Akslen does an amazing job of layering guitar notes that are so distorted that they roll into the next, which combines for the underlying background atmosphere and on top of that, are very tinny, and thin-sounding distortion, possibly using a pedal to raise and lower the noise, like dopplar effect.As he uses this technique, it seems to be replayed again, coupled with the droning bassline, to increase the atmosphere to a deafening din…and then fades out to begin again.
The overall effect is indeed of travelling through a forest at night, haunted by the many echoes as they fly through the gullies and among the trunks. The artwork very fittingly compliments this feeling.
When the artist places artistry above pleasing the masses, that is when innovation begins to grow, and with Minneriket one can hear innovation growing. On each of Stein Akslen releases, one can hear the boundaries of black metal being pushed forward, even as the music itself is solidly grounded in the black metal of old.
This release is like all Minneriket essential. But Minneriket is true cult, being beyond even the kvlt bastards that are giving the style a bad name. Minneriket should be listened to by all people who want to hear where the true future of the style lies, but sadly most people will probably not even realize the greatness of this work, because like all great things it is so idiosyncratic that it passes by the minds of lesser men.This is a highly accomplished work and I think is very much worth your attention, if only for that bizarre production. The atmosphere herein created is indescribably profound and dark.This is probably one of the most dark albums I have heard in a long time, for the sake of the desolation that it creates in my mind. Not a living thing in sight, just the darkness, as I walk through corridors of bleakness watching my back at every turn.The epitome of Ambient/Black Metal.

The album was released October 31st in physical format on CD by ABAR – Akslen Black Art Records and cassette tape in collaboration with Livet Er Avlyst Records, digitally through Bandcamp and iTunes,streaming through Spotify, and will be also available for pre-orders through Bandcamp beginning October 1st. There will also be a very special, limited fluorescent cassette release of the „Jærtegn” single version to include a tape-only bonus cover track of Venom’s “Black Metal”.