“Last days of Rome are here!” The runes were ignored and the ruin sets in. Numerological significance of VXII is an anagrammandolo of the cursed number 17 VIXI in Latin translating to roughly “I lived” then “died”. Take from that what you will and whether it has any relevance here I am uncertain but the signs all point in that direction. The person behind this is Swede Daniel Jansson who is also involved in acts such as Culted and Deadwood. Working primarily in noise, here he provides all vocals, instruments and electronics and as one would expect this is an uncompromising and at times harsh listening experience.

Having said that though it is also paradoxically quite a calming journey at first. Humanities collapse is met with the calm of ‘The New Black’ via droning frequencies and the quiet rumbling firmament sees Jansson’s craggy growling sitting very much in the background at first as light is snuffed and soil turned to ash. It feels like a weary acceptance to the forthcoming apocalypse and what else can you do but gently ride along with it as the world dies around you? At first I didn’t like this at all, as it is obviously unsettling in these current times even though it was no doubt composed before the true significance of what is occurring had been fully grasped and understood (apart from those of us who knew it was coming sooner rather than later). This needs to be played loud or even better through headphones when the crunches and crashes of an earth in revolt can be fully appreciated. Static and martial tones bring the runes into play with “Maðr” bristling with an increased level of both “man” and various machines. Spoken samples give a ghostly air of words carried off in the wind and the rasping language from our conductor become more distorted and inhuman. Sinister dark ambience and warped noise provide the bedrock which is hewn like granite around Twining Rope, pace is still slow and studied and surprisingly although there is still a sense of encroaching dread we are still safe in shelters for the moment; do not panic as we were told all those years ago by a certain space cadet. Still like a lumbering alien invasion the contagion approaches and you are aware this prelude is soon going to be unstoppable. Waves of sonic stress reach us with harsh Swedish vocals craggily filling in the spaces, the verse provided by Magnus Långberg on ‘Djävulsögon – Deconstructing The Bloodwolf.’ We are beyond the half-way mark now and although deeply unsettling we are still to meet full destructive force but…

Wallop, this hits with full catastrophic Ruin on Ururz and it is marching full stride any sense of stealth shrugged off. There are a couple of things this could remind you of and primarily it would be any of the number of works and projects of Mories such as Gnaw Their Tongues. He is not present but the other subject is and it should be no surprise to learn that the thick caustic production here is handled by Esoteric’s Greg Chandler at his Priory Studio bunker. Its pretty damn unforgiving too as we begin to be consumed by the ‘Yawning Void,’ a Lustmord etched nightmare of flesh metamorphosised via alien DNA. ‘B.A.H.F,’ finds us buried among human filth and the sewage pipe explodes on the album’s second track of hellish turbulence. Rather than completely bury in noisy effluence, sinister whispers ooze from the speakers and this is an exercise in utmost terror turned into haunting fear. If you are expecting rescuing then you are listening to the wrong album. There’s no redemption here as the jaws of Vánagandr widen and Ragnarok arrives. The clanking of chains perhaps signifies the bondage of human suffering and enslavement and leaves you pondering just what you have heard and wondering if life will ever be the same again? Dark music for dark times!

(7.5/10 Pete Woods)