Review from No Clean Singing

Posted by Hypnotic Dirge Records on Monday, May 6, 2024 Under: English
From: No Clean Singing
Published: May 5, 2024

We’ll begin with the first two songs you can now hear from Wrath, the forthcoming 12th album by Dødsferd. The album’s title shares the name of the band’s founder and also describes the emotional energy that fuels much of the music.

“Restoration of Justice” opens the album in a blaze — layered guitars deliriously whirling, the bass thundering, the vocals scalding, and the drums delivering a furious barrage. It’s like being caught up in a vast whirlwind of flame, levitating the listener high into the air and sweeping us toward the horizon.

The raw and raging fury of the vocals is shattering, and the relentlessly dynamic riffing also segues from glorious delirium into darker and more despairing moods, though without diminishing the sizzling, rippling, and incendiary intensity of the guitars, which is relentlessly all-consuming. The drumming also repeatedly morphs — with rhythms that stalk, hammer, gallop, and blister.

It’s a breathtaking way to introduce the album. The other song you can hear now, “Spiritual Lethargy“, jumps ahead as the fourth track in the running order. Again, the guitars create a maelstrom of exhilarating intensity, coupled at first with an electrifying drum progression that booms.

The music whirls like a dance, elaborate and even elegant despite the scathing and scorching brazenness of the sound. And once again, although the serrated-edge vocals are never less than rabidly vicious and blood-spraying, unchained and unhinged, the emotional timbre of the music descends as well as ascends, channeling torment and turmoil as well as wild, spinning abandon.

How do these two songs fit within the album as a whole? What else happens around them? On the one hand, they represent the main line of the album as a whole, which could be considered a return to Dødsferd‘s roots. That main line is a variant of raw black metal that’s explosive, furious, and ravaging, but with a far greater role for emotionally evocative and vibrantly trilling melodies that drill themselves into the listener’s mind and heart.

The songs frequently spawn musical visions of glory and grandeur as well as visions of jubilant peasant dances and whirling dervishes surrendering sanity to their passions, all of it anchored by low-end thunder and propelled by viscerally powerful percussion, which sometimes sounds like an earthquake in progress.

On the other hand, as previously noted, the music also seamlessly shifts in its tonal qualities and paints vivid portraits of distress and agony.

There seems no other way, for example, to interpret the piercing ring of a melody that surfaces and repeatedly seizes attention within the storming assault of “Decay of Sanity“, easily one of the most gripping songs on the album for that very reason, or the wrenching impact of the abrasive drilling and the bereft chiming notes of the guitars in “Raging Lust of Creation“, which is both near-apocalyptic in its bleakness and feral in its lustful savagery (it’s also home to seriously shattering cries of terrible, spine-tingling passion and some heavy rocking grooves).

Those two songs provide emotional and musical contrasts in between the two songs you can hear now. The two songs that follow “Spiritual Lethargy” — “Heaven Drops with Human Filth” and “Failure Ablaze in Your Existence” — carry forward experiences of conflagration and calamity, sheer savagery and fracturing desolation, but interspersed with the livid pulse of gripping heavy metal chords (especially in the second of those songs, which closes the regular edition of the album).

The vinyl edition of Wrath includes an exclusive seventh song — “Back to My Homeland… A Beast in Calm“. Unlike the six preceding songs, in which Wrath was accompanied by long-time partner Neptunus on bass and N.D. on drums, this one is a collaboration between Wrath and m.Sarvok (sound design, bass, violin, and drum programming), both of whom collaborated before in 2023’s Asphyxiating Late Night Sessions.

You could consider that special song, which reaches 13 1/2 minutes in length, as an experimental piece, intricate and richly textured, elegant but frightening, like a strange hallucination, as if something that might happen if we were inhaling the vapors at ancient Delphi. The bubbling up of distorted spoken words and the ruination of tortured screams add to the atmosphere of a hellish dream, but the piece also includes a cornucopia of mysterious and mesmerizing tones, both electronic and acoustic, and different speakers in the song’s mid-section.

The song is fascinating, both disturbing and entrancing, and only tangentially related to black metal. It would merit a more detailed stand-alone review if released on its own. In other words, unlike many vinyl-only “bonus tracks”, it’s no throw-away or afterthought, but very much a generous gift well worth having.

As for the themes of the songs on Wrath, Dødsferd explains: “Wrath carries in its wake a vigorous indictment of the social and economic consequences of capitalism, political corruption, ecocide, and the largest argument against our civility – warfare”.

Wrath will be released by Hypnotic Dirge Records on May 10th, in variant vinyl formats, on CD, and digitally. A limited tape and digi-CD box-set will be released by the end of the year through Wrath‘s FYC Records. It features artwork by longtime Dødsferd collaborator George Gyzis.

In : English 

Released: May 10, 2024
Genre: Black Metal


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