Sjukdom are as barren and bleak as the Norwegian landscape thy hail from. This is the bands second release, ‘Stridshymner Og Dodssalmer’, and is not to be confused with releases by bands with the same moniker from Sweden and USA. The band was born in 2011 and was conceived by Avsky and Natt and their only other art is the sibling ‘Nar Alt Markner’.

Sjukdom unleash raw black metal in its most vitriolic and hateful form. The production on this release is venomous and beautiful in equal measures, and the vocals are demonic and malevolent as they are spat out with power and precision.

The bands ethos on this opus, as with their previous work, is to keep the methodology stripped back, alluding to the use of keys or grandeur, and negating any charm

This beast is made up of 7 tracks and is a mere 34 minutes of violence and brutality. ‘Dodssalmer’ opens the proceedings and Avsky lays out the intentions with some powerful and bitter vocals. Hul and Nekrosis work in perfect harmony on the guitar and bass respectively, and it’s all tied together in a vulgar and harsh package.

Avsky et al continue in the same vain with tracks ‘Naervaer’, ‘Lykantropi’ and ‘Med En Fot I Graven’. All tracks deliver a pure, raw and unpolished master-class in the vindictive black arts.

‘Terra Nihil’ is the pinnacle of the album for me, and the band seems to have turned up the savagery, wilderness and sadism to the next level. Natt also seems to have escalated his vehemence and strength, and absolutely carves out a back bone which must be made of titanium to hold the soul of the track into the torso of this cadaver

‘I En Storm Av Stal’ is the penultimate track and shows no signs of relenting from the rest of this ogre, with Avsky taking centre stage again, although that is not doing Natt, Hul and Nekrosis a disservice as they sound as unadulterated and robust as any a competent extreme performer.

‘Skudd For Skudd’ closes this swine, and is epic at nearly double the length of the other segments of this build. It is fresh, angry and enflamed and it really delivers an assault on your core.

Sjukdom are competent enough to keep up with their Scandinavian peers and should proudly stand alongside their brothers in arms. They deliver the venom and aggression that is indicative of Hoest and his Taake Horde, and the splendour and attraction of Carpathian Forest and Gorgoroth.

This is a true lesson in the intensity and malice of the black metal virtuosities, and needs to find its way into your black metal collection with immediate effect

(9/10 Phil Pountney)