Tread carefully for we are about to enter the fields of death! Doedsvangr may well be a new name to us but the unholy triumvirate behind this cult are not. Lead singer of Nordjevel and Svartelder Doedadmiral, has collaborated with Tsjuder sticksman Anti-Christian and Shatraug of Horna, Sargeist etc etc to make this a true Norse, Finnish collaboration. With this sort of pedigree behind things you are well aware that this is going to be a powerful new force and the sun will indeed turn black in its wake. No more info is really forthcoming or necessary and it is left to the imagination to anticipate the drawing of this coven to a barren shack in the woods under full moon, madness and moonshine to record these blasphemous hymns.
One notable aspect of the album is that each of the eleven tracks are wrapped in the gauze of ambient interludes or gates constructed by Alexander Wolf / Metatron Omega which really works at keeping up the atmosphere and indeed bewitch with an otherworldly feel. This also makes the whole album pretty much run continuously without pause over its 54 minute running time. Our Lord Cometh as the main track builds over thorny riff work and an incredibly melodic sound. Ghastly vocals eventually ooze out and the drumming builds into a thick clattering furrow which blasts with the military precision we have become accustomed to from Anti-Christian’s day job. There is a sense of majesty about it all albeit a rotting and cadaverous one due to the necromantic vocal sermon. The band are not all about speed but enrapturing you in the finesse of their craft. The production is sharp and suitably destructive as they whip up into a hell-storm with an almost pompous underlying symphonic edge. There’s lots going on in the background here as the ‘Rituals’ hit their peak. By their self-titled track a coarse, tar-pit brackish punk etched swagger bounces in and the mid paced thrust is full of rolling drum fills and ever inhuman vocal gurgles before it picks up and batters away on a chase through demon infested woods.
The album definitely has its roots in the second wave of black metal and there are elements harking back to the emerging Norwegian and Finnish scene of the time here which will have fans old and new revelling in the authenticity of it all. Considering those behind it we would really expect nothing less. There is at times an air of nostalgic and dare I say romance about the melodies of numbers such as ‘Black Dawn’ and the hunger found on the fiercer numbers like ‘Northern Watchtowers’ consumes as the drums rattle away and vocals stick forked-tongue out invading you with their rasping bitter bile. Each and every track here seems to have a strong sense of identity and this definitely feels like a work constructed painstakingly over time rather than a quick in / out done in one take lesson in a Darkthrone DIY classroom. As mentioned the greats do seep in some of the underlying parts are reminiscent of Emperor and Diaboli exudes the rank vileness of Maniac era Mayhem. As for the rugged croaks of ‘Breath Of Lucifer’ prepare to be frozen for Immortality, not even the vocal cries of “Fire” will thaw you out from this one.
There’s a lot to take in here and this is an album that will keep you occupied over many suns. At times thoroughly malevolent and revolting at others ravenous and all-consuming Doedsvangr are well worth exploring. I’m already kind of hoping they will find time in their busy schedules to play some shows and that this is not just going to be a studio project.
(8/10 Pete Woods)