Formed in 2013 in Albi, France, Sviatibor has come a long way in a year. With 2 EP's, 2 full length albums, and a compilation under their belts, you would expect them to sit back and take a break for a while. Well, that is far from the case and Sviatibor is already back with their third full length album, La Foi Des Ancêtres. A band that pumps out that much material in such a short time is usually burnt out by the end and the creativity is sometimes barely there, but once again Sviatibor proves us wrong and comes out with one of their best releases yet. The typical black metal sound is still present but some traditional samples are used as well, giving the album a unique sound. I am reminded of Renaissance-era music a lot while listening. Thomas Hornstein, the mastermind behind Sviatibor, proves to be extremely talented in his songwriting and musical ability. Every song on this album stands on its own and has defining characteristics that set them apart from one another. Ambient interludes are used to break up the longer tracks once in a while and that helps accentuate the longer tracks more without having them come together and sound like one long and drug out song.
The musicianship on the album is top notch. The drums, while they are programmed, sound excellent. They do not overpower the music at all and stay at a solid level in the mix throughout the album, avoiding a very common problem in a lot of black metal music nowadays. A lot of time was spent programming the drums and making sure they are exactly the way he wants them. The guitar tone is unique to Sviatibor as I have not heard anything like it anywhere else. It has that slight french twist to the sound. If you listen to bands like Gojira and Svart Crown, there is a unique overtone that all French bands seem to have. It is more prevalent in their music compared to Sviatibor, but you can definitely hear it on La Foi Des Ancêtres. The riffs are very well played and Thomas is not afraid to use some unorthodox chord structures in his music to make it sound all the more unique. Synths are used, but never too much to the point where they distract from everything else that is happening. The vocals are cold and dissonant, sending a chill down your spine when you hear them. They stay out of the way enough to let the music shine at points, but they stay at the forefront of the songs. The parts of the album that I find excellent are the subtle ambient pieces that intertwine the album. They are not 'in-your-face' tracks, but they keep the music interesting and add to the ever-growing atmosphere.
Sviatibor has not rested since its incarnation in 2013 and shows no signs of doing so. La Foi Des Ancêtres is a gorgeous masterpiece that shows the true potential of Thomas and his musical skills. From the darkest parts of a winter forest to the joyous exit into the light, La Foi Des Ancêtres covers all of the emotions that you would want an ambient black metal band to cover. If you haven't heard of Sviatibor or his music, go check it out because I promise you it is worth it!