Cwealm is a one man black metal project from Sweden. Comparison has been made with 1990s bands releasing material on the No Fashion label such as Lord Belial, Mörk Gryning and Sacramentum.
After a spooky opening, “Pale Maleficence” fires off into atmospheric black metal territory. Contemptuous as you’d expect, there’s a bounciness as if mad clowns had just found themselves on a fairground carousel. “Wither, Tainted Crown” told me that there’s something whimsical about all this hatred and chaos. The music has a melody but there’s no time to absorb it, as it’s so fast. The manic and frantic music smothers any overriding impression. As I listened to “Serpent of Rebirth”, I detected shades of Carach Angren in all the theatrical turbulence but here there’s no obvious story as Antaeus, the man responsible, gnarls his way through the deliberate cacophony. The keyboards are introduced periodically to add an eerie element. It’s impossible to get away from the intrusive, ghastly rhythm. “Black Gall (Poisoned Arrows)” has a creepier feel, and ends with an atmospheric and sinister drum beat, withering keyboard and haunting chant-like vocal but thereafter it is more frenetic, breathless turbulence all the way until the short and melancholic “Ödesdödens Kalk” brings it to a close.
“Odes to No Hereafter” is like a spitting fire, which never stops. The ghastly rhythm is delivered at such a pace that it is intrusive. Antaeus rasps on as if he’s gouging out burning flesh, and generally it’s all unsympathetic, which of course is the idea.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)