Reel Metal: Vildhjarta – Dagger

We’d like to welcome aboard videographer/photographer Chris Collins, who has done videos in the past for artists such as The Browning, Playing For Keeps and has shot photos for countless bands, including Oceano and As Blood Runs Black! If you need photos or videos done in the Dallas area, hit him up immediately.

First off, I want to thank Jimmy, or Alkahest, and everyone at Heavy Blog for giving me a shot at this metal music video column. In the coming future, I look forward to writing about the good, the bad, and everything in between of the slowly diminishing art form that is the music video. I look forward to praising the good and reaming the bad – where it is deserved, and telling you why. With the formalities out of the way, let’s get to my very first music video review!

 

Artist: Vildhjarta

Song: “Dagger”

Album: Måsstaden

Director: Jakob Arevärn

My very first review was a tough choice. I wanted to start things out on a positive note rather than a “critique and destroy” negative review, (of which I’m sure will be plentiful), while also giving you guys a sense of who I am and a taste of what I enjoy listening to. So to kick things off, I chose Vildhjarta, the 7-piece djent outfit hailing from Stockholm, who recently released their latest music video for their song “Dagger” from Måsstaden, their studio full length on Century Media Records.

Right off the start the video seems promising — boasting an interesting, fake forest performance set and very nice lighting. Strong backlighting makes the band perform as dark silhouettes for most of the heavy parts of the video, with some soft diffused sources up front to compliment the band during the rest of the performance.

The opening shots had me biting their hook. Slow dolly movement shots paired with narrow depth of field of trees and branches during the ambient intro, exploding into light on the songs first riff certainly had me convinced I was in for something unique.

It wasn’t until about halfway through the video that I started to realize they were never going to reel me in. I spent most of my viewing experience awaiting something more. With the complete absence of a storyline and not much diversity within their performance set, loss of interest came rather promptly. I awaited something, anything to contrast the repetitiveness of the video. Perhaps Snow White would enter the forbidden forest looking for her seven dwarves who apparently sneak away to bob up and down continuously to progressive djent riffs for 4 and a half minutes.

That may be a little harsh, as I can assure you I do not dislike the video, but I also do not love it. A simple change in color correction or added effects during appropriate parts of the song could have saved it from its monotony. Some or any sort of slight action change would have helped. Like perhaps the leaves falling during a climactic moment in the song instead of sporadically on and off throughout the video would have made for a more satisfying experience.

People are spoiled rotten with short attention spans and high expectations, ones that are tough to fulfill as a director.

The camera work was above average. As I stated earlier, the intro was pretty and left an impression. However, the rest of the video is pretty cookie cutter as far as camera shots goes, with the exception of a few very brief jib shots I would have liked to see more of. For an example, refer to 2:06 and 2:09 in the video.

As far as the editing goes, I was satisfied. Whoever edited the video certainly listened to the pace and beats of the song. Which, unfortunately, isn’t something I can say often for metal videos. I can’t count how many times I’ve cringed over what shots the editor chose to display during certain parts of songs or the moments at which they chose to cut to another shot.

Only negative things I have to say about the editing is its use of the linear blur filter. Which, as an editor, was as hard to watch as it is to spell this band’s name. This particular filter’s overuse across music video to music video has irked me since I first laid eyes on it. Also, there were a few shots they cut to that served no purpose other than to change angles with the beat of the song. There are one or two moments where it cuts to a camera that looks like it’s in the middle of changing its subject or too shaky to even see what it’s aiming it. This I can understand, though. Sometimes during editing you’ve locked the music video into a certain pace for cuts and have nothing else to go to.

The video serves as an appropriate follow up to their enjoyable, previous music video release for Benblåst.” Which is as interesting as it is abstract, and also in its foundation, the exact opposite of this video: all storyline with no performance. Their video for Benblåst,” can be found here:

 

So overall, I think the video is successful in displaying the mood and feel of the band’s music, which ultimately is the goal of a music video. I enjoyed the video’s unique set and the above par cinematography. This director, although foreign, has caught my eye for future productions.

 

PROS

–      Awesome performance set.

–      Great lighting and cinematography.

–      Well paced editing.

–      Unique and interest peaking intro.

 

CONS

–      Absence of storyline.

–      Lack of diversity and overall action in performance.

 

NOTABLE MOMENTS

–      :00 – :38 – Great intro.

–      2:06 / 2:09 / 3:33 – Brief but awesome jib/crane shots.

–      3:50-4:29 – Good editing/headbanging shots on the outro.

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