The Great Below


KVAEN is a Swedish solo-project founded by Jacob Björnfot. The Great Below is the second […]
By Giovanni AC
June 6, 2022
Kvaen - The Great Below album cover

KVAEN is a Swedish solo-project founded by Jacob Björnfot. The Great Below is the second full length from KVAEN and was released in March 2002 through Black Lion Records.

The album begins with "Cauldron Of Plagues", a Black metal song with some touches of pagan and Speed metal - very well done. The variations of the sub-styles are very well worked, and I have to say that The Great Below starts with a little masterpiece. The title-track has a special sound that makes it the most unique track on The Great Below due some reminiscences with Power metal but remaining in the Melodic Death metal domain, and with a great guitar solo by Jeff Loomis.

The third song, "In Silence", comes with the contribution of Nephente Fridell as vocalist. The song begins in the vein of the Gothenburg sound, but the Black metal arises for moments showing a great performance. "Damnations Jaw" is a cold song, some elements of Second-Wave Black metal are blended with Pagan metal sounds achieving, with the contribution of Mike Wead, a great moment on the album. With "Sulphur Fire" we have a song with several components of different styles. With a Black metal base, the creativity of Jacob Björnfot shows in "Sulphur Fire" a confluence of melodic and rhythmic variations that goes from Technical/Melodic Death metal and Black metal to Viking/Pagan metal.

"Ensamvarg" is the most Pagan/Viking song of the album. Within these styles however have a very personal style and the guitar solo of Sebastian Ramstedt takes the song to another level. Well, "Your Mighty Has Fallen" is a punch on the nose. If you wonder how do you get a perfect combination of Pagan, Speed and Melodic Death metal, this song gives you the answer. The last song, "The Fire Within Him Burns", comes with Mathias "Vreth" Lillmåns from FINNTROLL on vocals. In the same vein as the other seven tracks, in "The Fire Within Him Burns" we face a powerful song that has a perfect combination between brutality, melody and... romance (listen it and you will see why).

In short, The Great Below is one of the best works that I have listened this year.

10 / 10


"The Great Below" Track-listing:

1. Cauldron Of Plagues
2. The Great Below
3. In Silence
4. Damnations Jaw
5. Sulphur Fire
6. Ensamvarg
7. Your Mighty Has Fallen
8. The Fire Within Him Burns

Kvaen Lineup:

Jacob Björnfot - All instruments
Tommi Tuhkala - Drums

Special guests
Jeff Loomis on "The Great Below" - Guitar solo
Nephente Fridell on "In Silence" - Vocals
Mike Wead on "Damnations Jaw" - Guitar solo
Sebastian Ramstedt on "Ensamvarg" - Guitar solo
Mathias "Vreth" Lillmåns on "The Fire Within Him Burns" - Vocals

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