Vanhelgd-Temple-of-PhobosAh, that’s more like it: None of this intro stuff, just straight in to a solid, doom/death riff and off this Swedish lot go with ‘Lament Of The Mortals’. Immediately there’s that late eighties, early nineties feel to the riff and the tone: A time when death and black metal were both finding the ‘joy’ of slowing things down. ‘Rebellion Of The Iniquitous’ heightens this feel with a real Celtic Frost flavour to the guitar tone without the weird lead breaks. The funny thing it’s it doesn’t just feel like a retro trip somehow. There is a clear eyed enthusiasm and vision, as well as a forward looking production that pushes this out of a time warp. ‘Den Klentrogenes Klagon’ brings this into sharper focus with distinct and quasi-religious sounding keyboards, a riff that snakes straight out of ‘Gothic’ period Paradise Lost and vocals that harm back to the death vocals used by Elend on their initial trilogy.

It’s very good stuff indeed; easy to fall in to and with enough depth to keep you interested with the arrangements. The title track is a rich storm of doom/death, still very nineties in feel but with a good identity of its own. ‘Gravens Lovsa Ng’ really is almost pure Paradise Lost though, but so good it’s more than worth it. A cracking song. But you will hear other influences; bits of early Opeth in some of the more proggy elements, that edge between black and death metal that harks back to something like the underappreciated Adimiron Black period Gehenna, Portal gone normal without the backwards riffs. It’s all in here and even better its so consistent in feel and the writing is so assured that you can generally simply lie back and let the bleak, dark waters take you where they will. I was back in a shitty bedsit, posters badly tacked to discoloured walls, one crappy low wattage lamp staining them deleted and the electricity mater slowly ticking away my last fifty pence. But the stereo still turning round and round forever. The last thing I could let go of. ‘Rejoice In Apathy’ indeed. ‘Allt Hopp A r Fo rbi’ closes things in suitably miserable fashion and an album with no waste, no fat has ended.

I know some will criticise this for looking backwards, but frankly it it’s done with such keen eyes, and with such a vital production and sound I just think ‘we’ll thank the misery that some bands still want to do this. Not ground breaking, just quality, maturity and mastery of a genre that a lesser band would have mired in overlong dullness. This is excellent.

Zero credit for the ‘hidden track’ though. Hate that. If it’s good enough to be on the album link it properly.

Still a fine dose of doom/death misery though and one that is so good just to let spin again. And again.

(8/10 Gizmo)