Would it be strange to say that you have to be in the mood for DSBM? I don’t necessarily mean I want to be sad when I’m listening to it I just mean that sometimes its drab tones don’t always tickle my fancy. I do find this highly emotive art form to be oddly relaxing, much the same as Atmospheric Black Metal it offers a more easy listening take on Metal in the realms of extremity, equally DSBM is varied in its influence making many bands stand out as unique, there’s a bit of sadness for everyone.
Sykelig Englen hail from the foggy lands of Norfolk in the UK referring to their musical style as Suicidal Misanthropic Art, sounds appealing to me. From the solo artists inception in 2008 he has since gone on to release a full length in 2015 entitled Hymns Of The Dead which initially caught my attention as a promising UK DSBM album, however we now come to 2018 and the second effort Hagall, but does it continue the legacy?
My first impression of Hagall were pretty high, there is certainly a vast amount of progression in sound from Hymns Of The Dead, encompassing more Black Metal influence and even delving into areas of experimentation at points. Hagall and Nostalgic Nausea come to the forefront for me as displays of unique songwriting, there is little care for structure in the more experimental portions with frantic riffs circling into utter chaos.
Aside from this the album is also varied moving from the orthodox Ofermod style vocals of Two Legged Disease into the more traditional and under-produced tones of Spinning Rooms And Forestlands. This album keeps things pure and true without any need for excessive over the top production or splendour, instead it sticks to the roots of Black Metal drawing in a plethora of sounds and birthing a truly unique underground gem.
To summarise I would definitely consider this as a step up from Hymns Of The Dead, although some may see Hagall as a touch all over the place it is unquestionable that the whole release stays as fresh as an embalmed corpse. Not once do you as a listener feel bored, the sounds therein are exciting, different and wholesomely underground, this is a definite release for Black Metal nerds, an album to really sink into.
(7/10 George Caley)