The Wild Hunt - vinyls euphoria

Black vs coloured and splattered vinyl – which sounds best? Let’s find out, in the almighty Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods test…

It is sometimes said that black vinyl sounds better than coloured, splattered and especially glow in the dark vinyls. But is that really so and is it possible to hear the difference? Let’s find out! (As someone used to say, before freedom of speech was interfered with).

So, the test objects for our black metal vinyl hearing experiment are: (1) to the left, the competitor and expected winner, at least if we are to believe the experts: the classical, traditional black vinyl. (2) to the right, we have our challenger: the unorthodox splattered vinyl which is claimed to be a bad choice, from sound quality perspective…

This album is the first since the split between Demonaz and Abbath. Abbath took off and has his band is very logically named just Abbath, while Demonaz and Horgh continued with Immortal. Horgh is by the way also drummer in death metal stars Hypocrisy, which pretty much is Peter Tägtgren’s band. “Northern Chaos Gods” is partly recorded in Grangärde, Dalarna with Peter Tägtgren as producer. He bought the mental hospital ‘Pärlby’, in Grangärde, and turned it into his living place, studio etc.

Picture taken by The Wild Hunt, in the dense forests, a few kilometers away from Pärlby

Equipment used in this experiment: Argon vinyl player, a 20 year old Sony amplifier, a good Ortofon pickup (don’t remember which model though), Sennheiser HD 660 S headphones.

The competitors lined up:

1. The favourite, the first pressing black vinyl
2. The challenger, the ‘pretty’ but superficial splatter vinyl

Summary: after listening carefully to these vinyls during an entire evening, my conclusion is that the challenger, the ‘pretty’ splatter vinyl, sounds better. It is clearer in sound, while the black vinyl is not sounding so well. It is inferior in fact. The sounds are ‘muffled’ so to say.

The thing here is that I was sceptical towards the black pressing from the beginning, because of my feeling it had an inferior sound. I still think this is the case here. The positive thing is that if you are an old school hard core lo-fi black metal fan, this is of course the option for you

So, the sound is better in the later pressing but this has most probably got nothing to do with the actual colour of the vinyl. The root cause for the difference is probably another. Conclusion is that the actual colour is not the most important factor for good sound quality – mastering, mixing, pressing plant etc are probably more important factors. Although, colour probably has impact.

The official “Mighty Ravendark” video from the label, Nuclear Blast.

Frozen up north
Far from the sun
Where the heart of winter is one
Cold winds they blow
All frost and snow
Shadows creep in forests old
Unending realm awaiting fires end
All light from worlds disappear
I lurk the paths where grimly woods near
Frozen gates call me from there

Under these mountainsides rises no sun
Whereas the icy cold mountains are one
Beyond the wintery woods winds they call
Here under the might of its greatness I roar

Mighty Ravendark
Mighty Ravendark

Forests climb to mountains
Cold winds they blow
Thunder and twilight and snow
Frost, wind and fog, snow deep and cold
In the realm that is hidden from all
Mindless voices speak through the heart of the gods
From the wintery woods winds they call
Caught in the shadows of thy raven realm
The kingdom that blackened my soul

Under these mountainsides rises no sun
Whereas the icy cold mountains are one
Beyond the wintery woods winds they call
Here under the might of its greatness I roar

Mighty Ravendark
Mighty Ravendark
Mighty Ravendark

Throne of the north
Mountains of might
Blashyrkh by name
Blashyrkh by fire
Towers of ice
Shadows of gods
Tales of the one
Frozen kingdom

Kingdom of north
Throne of them all
Tales of the one
Mountaineous sons
Blashyrkh by fire
Blashyrkh by name
The throne of north
Mighty be thy law
Mighty Ravendark

Frozen up north
Far from the sun
Where the heart of winter is one
Cold winds they blow
All frost and snow
Shadows creep in forests old
Unending realm awaiting fires end
All light from worlds disappear
I lurk the paths where grimly woods near
Frozen gates call me from there

Under these mountainsides rises no sun
Whereas the icy cold mountains are one
Beyond the wintery woods winds they call
Here under the might of its greatness I roar

Mighty Ravendark
Mighty Ravendark