Sunday, April 13, 2014

Skogen - I Döden

I first heard this band in 2012 with their album, Eld. I found that to be some enjoyable black metal. I actually think it is more along the lines of pagan metal. I'm not sure why this band is not on more people's minds than most of the more well known black metal bands. This Swedish trio actually know how to make epic black metal that is enjoyable and majestic. So now we have the band's follow up and fourth full length album entitled I Döden and this is more of the same from this talented band. I liked this band when I first heard them but have now become a full fledged fan as of this album. As I said, the music these guys play is majestic and beautiful and this album is no exception.

What stands out about this band is the way they use the keyboards. They are not upfront in the mix but they provide atmosphere. This is not symphonic black metal, this is atmospheric and epic. The riffs are solid tremolos and they use leads to provide beautiful melodies almost reminding me of Windir in places. The title track is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. They use your typical black metal vocals that are really good and not overly "evil" sounding because that is not what they are going for. They also use some clean vocals that provide even more atmosphere to their songs. The songs are epic as most are in the six or seven minute range but the way they write their songs they keep you interested. I actually put the headphones on when listening to this album because of the atmosphere of this album. "När himlen svartnar" is another example of that majestic sound they are going for. As in the title track, they use acoustic guitar parts to add to the atmosphere and epic nature of the song. Some parts of this song actually remind me of Ulver's Bergtatt.

This is not your blast beat black metal and the production is clean and clear but not over polished. The sound of this album actually makes this so much more enjoyable. As I said, this is not blast beat black metal but epic music that takes you on a journey. To pin point a particular song on here would not be something I could do because take one song away and the journey is incomplete. "Solarvore" is a slower song that has the riffs right up front with a bombastic epic sound that leads into an acoustic guitar passage. This is one of those songs that builds up to a crescendo which is part of the journey that this album takes you on. The clean vocals are hypnotizing and chanting and the keys just add another dimension. This is one of those bands whose music gives me goose bumps because of how I can feel the raw emotion in each song. "Griftenatt" is another of the slow to mid paced song that relies on the tremolos and lead riffs to continue this journey through nature.

"Sleep" is the last song on the album and the longest. Although much slower and not as complex and the rest of the album, the atmosphere between the chanted "throat singing" vocals and the cleans are truly mystifying and hypnotic and it gives the notion that this is a requiem of sorts. This band attracted my attention with their previous album but with this album, they have proven that they are one of those magical bands that know just how to make songs that are truly epic, beautiful and hypnotic. This is epic black/pagan metal done properly and these guys are right up there with Moonsorrow, Windir, etc. One of my favorite albums of the year, so far.


No comments: