Skogen - I Döden (2014)
Review by Jude Felton
I Döden , which is the fourth album from Swedish band Skogen, may well be my introduction to the band, but it is by no means my first exposure to the output of Nordvis Produktion. The small Swedish label has consistently released quality music that which I have heard anyway, and always takes great pride in the quality of the packaging of their releases. You’ll be able to check these out yourselves too, if you don’t want to order all the way from Sweden, as they have just secured North American distribution with Bindrune Recordings.
On to the case in hand though, and I Döden is a beautifully, sprawling tapestry of atmospheric black metal. It is a journey that takes you on the highs and lows of emotions; from the beautiful intro of Vargher and the serene middle section of Livets Ruin, through to a maelstrom of punishing guitars and drum work; the intro of Griftenatt, which is the first single, being a prime example.
Rather than chop and change between musical extremes though, as is sometimes the case, there is a natural progression between the two and, as with many great albums, there is a wonderful flow here. It’s not going to jar you, but instead lead you on its journey, and is best enjoyed as one entire piece of work.
Course vocals work side by side with the album’s many choral elements, with almost chanted backing vocals adding further depth to proceedings. In fact, there are large sections when the lead vocals are absent, leaving the choral elements to wash over you. Sometimes bands, mistakenly, get labelled at atmospheric, and contain as much atmosphere as space. With Skogen though it fits perfectly, as I Döden is an album that has seemingly been crafted to evoke vivid imagery and emotions within the listener.
Whether you want to listen to this in a darkened room or blaring away on your car stereo, it works perfectly in both. Granted, it’s probably not perfect summer listening, unless of course you are longing for the cold winter months to return, but as a whole this is sixty minutes of quite superb music. Highly recommended.
2. I Döden
3. När Himlen Svartnar
5. Livets Ruin
5. Livets Ruin
I Döden is released on April 7th by Nordvis Produktion.