No time for messing about. From the off Avslut, which I believe means “Closed” in Swedish take us down the darkest and most violent path. Dark Funeral meets Marduk. “Stigens Ände”, the second track stirred me more, dragging us along at breakneck speed but changing tempo to disorientate us. The hatred and misanthropy are fine and par for the course, but a rush of blood adds to things, I find. “Stigens Ände” does just that, not pausing to allow us to take breath.
This band from Stockholm has been together since 2016 but this album is a throwback to the early 00s or a little earlier, I find. An all out assault of ferocious, uncompromising black metal with periodic tempo changes sounds very familiar. This is not to underestimate the technical quality or the structures. It’s all very solid, and most importantly the sinister path is the same. “All Förgås” is of the slower, disease-spreading and more creepy kind. The vocalist represents the heart of that disease as the song becomes more despairing and funereal.
I enjoyed “Tyranni”. It’s dark, heavy and atmospheric. I felt however that I have listened to this album many times before in other places. The movements have authority and occasionally border on the epic but are entirely predictable. “Den Eviga Flamman” (The Eternal Flame) and “Unterjordens Apostlar” (The Apostles of the Underworld) are exactly this. The break at 2 minutes 50 seconds in “Unterjordens Apostlar” was pure Dark Funeral. Luckily I like Dark Funeral. “Pestens Lärjungar” then starts with the customary explosion. Anything in front of it is torn asunder. The drum triggers, the guitar plays out its miserable, scornful tune while the vocalist screams in pain and despair. A break takes us to a rising and sinister assault, marked by a piercing scream. “Dråp” (Homicide) is warmongering at its finest, interrupted by a passage of suffering reflection. The assault recommences, and the dirty threats continue, pausing and resurrecting themselves. Structurally I liked “Dråp” most of all with its ebbing and flowing and constantly menacing aura. Now for an eight and a half minute assault “Ändlöst Slaveri” (Endless Slavery). The swirling chaos takes different directions as Avslut play out one final belligerent piece. Unlike anything I’d heard to now, “Ändlöst Slaveri” came across as a story being told rather than just a template piece of black metal. There’s a particularly powerful section towards the end where Avslut mix funereal reflection with the structured violence which characterises this album as a whole.
For the most part I found nothing original here but that’s no reason not to like it. The intensity is without question. The metal is black. “Tyranni” is cold and harsh. Enjoy.
(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)