My Kingdom scores a big blow by adding to its roster this new project from Norway and hatched from the mind of Erik Unsgaard, vocalist of blacksters Sarkom, joined by trusted drummer Uruz (Urgehal). In the bio, So Much For Nothing is presented as the authors of “decadent black art,” a definition that might seem ambitious, but which in fact correctly photographs the band’s proposal. After all, both the moniker and the title (Livsgnist, Norwegian for “glimmer of life”), might make one think of yet another depressive black project, and in fact if we really had to pigeonhole this album into a subgenre of metal, this would be the most appropriate placement. In reality, the band gives life to a work that eschews both the minimalist aspects of depressive and the oddities of certain avant-garde black metal; thus , where it often indulges in repetitive solutions or in the desire to amaze at all costs, we find instead sounds oriented toward the search for those emotional aspects capable of making Livsgnist stand out for its quality among the myriad productions of a similar mold. So Much For Nothing completely hit the target, ensuring the necessary stylistic variety not only with the appropriate use of different guests grappling with unconventional instruments for the genre (sax, trumpet, cello, violin) or protagonists of splendid guitar solos, but also with the alternation of vocal solutions, ranging from the classic angry tones of black to the clean singing typical of gothic. Turning to the examination of the individual tracks, one cannot ignore Perfect, which holds true to its title by manifesting itself as a mid tempo characterized by a catchy refrain, the title track with its engaging opening riff and its admirably melancholic ending, and New Life, New Beginning, which opens in the sign of Eirik Renton’s trumpet. Also deserving of special mention is Suffer In Silence, which features the most distinguished guest, Niklas Kvarforth, who, by lending his voice in this track, provides a sort of imprimatur to the entire album; on the other hand, the mastermind of Shining may certainly be a controversial figure, but his ascendancy within the Scandinavian extreme scene cannot in any way be ignored. Livsgnist is ultimately the effective staging of the evil of living that, in those latitudes, finds its natural artistic outlet in this particular musical genre; we only hope that So Much For Nothing will not remain an extemporaneous project but that a follow-up will be given to this work that deserves due attention from all those who love dark and melancholic sounds.

2012 – My Kingdom Music