There are certain achievements that bands seem to hold in high regard, anniversaries, number of releases and so forth. Naturally this sort of egotistical self-awarding comes with a sort of uprising from fans whereby they equally appear to share the bands joy. Although this can lead to much anticipation and ultimately end with a sort of anti-climactic feel. Yet is that not the danger of putting your music out in the first place? To present something so publicly is to expect ridicule in at least some degree, and personally as a reviewer I am usually one of those to share that ridicule with the world.
Speaking of accolades we come to observe the quintan release from Vanhelgd. These Swedish Death/ Doom titans have been creating a stir amid the underworld since 2007 and generally to much praise and regard. Released through Pulverised Records and following up the 2016 effort Temple Of Phobos Vanhelgd aim to clutch firmly at the mangled crown of Metal with Deimos Sanktuarium. However will the ship of unholy horror sail into pastures new or will it remain upon a steady sea cementing Vanhelgd’s place in the oceans of sound.
Having personally been a fan of Temple Of Phobos I was eager to dive into Deimos Sanktuarium head first, alas I soon hit the surface with the same dignity as a used brick. The opening portion of this album, the starter if you will left me a touch disappointed. Whilst the venomous well pronounced vocals punched forward with vigour the backing instrumentation felt desperate and lacking, my mind seemed almost made up. Although how wrong I was, the turning point came with Profaned Is The Blood Of The Covenant, an almost ritualistic, spiritual opening that hissed with memorability and dare I say nigh on Drone influence with the Doom ridden backing of guitars and drums.
From this mid section onward I was utterly hooked and found myself dragged under by The Ashes Of Our Defeat and finally Här Finns Ingen Nåd, each giving me that much needed miserable tone of Death soaked Doom Metal that I so expected. With all this in mind I was prompted to recollect my thoughts and revisit the starter of this album a fresh, and much to my pleasure I was relieved that Vanhelgd have crafted another exciting addition to their discography. There is certainly a huge atmosphere about this album, truly enveloping and overflowing with light trickles of influences ranging from Drone to Funeral Doom, this is a mighty feat.
So with a little perseverance and with a tuned ear Deimos Sanktuarium succeeds in delivering a product that is all-encompassing and a genuine delight. This album is what one might refer to as a grower, stick with it and good things are sure to happen. If this is your first exposure to Vanhelgd then you’re in for a treat, if you like your Death Meal tinged with downtrodden Doom and unrelenting desperation then this is for you.
(8/10 George Caley)