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Armagedda - Ond Spiritism: Djæfvvlens Skalder Anno Serpenti MMIV Award winner

Armagedda
Ond Spiritism: Djæfvvlens Skalder Anno Serpenti MMIV
by Martin Knap at 17 April 2019, 2:03 PM

Up to this date I’ve only known the name ARMAGEDDA, but wasn’t familiar with the Swedish band’s work. No wonder since the band wasn’t around: they were active in the years 1999 – 2004 and have released three LPs, three EPs and some splits and compilations. It’s not surprising, then, that they are not as much talked about as iconic Black Metal bands that are recording and touring for many decades, but after listening to their last LP “Ond Spiritism” and their other previous albums – the debut is also being re-released now with “Ond Spiritism” – it’ s clear to me that this band’s iconic status is undeniable.

Their first album “The Final War Approaching” is raw, but shows signs of greatness, the following one “Only True Believers” is an epitome of Black Metal savagery, with their third and last release they took a little bit of a more introspective turn while staying firmly rooted in the riff-based approach of Second-Wave Black Metal. “Ond Spiritism” is ARMAGEDDA’s first release with lyrics in Swedish and is a bit less fierce, there are more mid-tempo grooves in the songs, and it’s focused on atmosphere more than the earlier work. The music is all about driving riffs and grooves that are relentless and hypnotic, but also let the forceful vocals shine. There are shifts between rhythms and riffs in the songs that are often subtle, which makes the songs make sound grim and austere while not sounding dull at the same time. The songs are focused, the development in them is incremental, but when a lead melody comes it is all the more powerful.

The album starts with the grim, mid-tempo song “Helvetestoner” that has a really nice groove and slowly builds up to a climactic part with a tremolo riff at the end. “Döpt I Oheligt Vatten” is also a slow burner with some ominous guitar leads at the end. After this slower start come more up-tempo, aggressive songs like “Afsked” or the nine minute long “Ændalykt”. “Afsked” shifts between parts with a driving riffs and parts with a catchy bass groove. In “Ændalykt” there are nice shits in tempos and riffs – a kind of buzzing, fast-picked riff alternates with an epic melodic riff – and the song builds to a grand finale. This song is followed by the awesome “Döden Styr Livet,” that has a driving ENSLAVED-esque riff, and some of the most theatrical vocals on the whole album. The eight minutes long “Afgrundsvisioner” is preceded by an atmospheric interlude and followed by an outro that are truly mesmerizing – the first has an air of deep lethargy and the latter a kind of cosmic exaltation.

Mesmerizing is how I would describe the effect of ARMAGEDDA’s music on, it is kick Black Metal kick-assery of the highest order. The music is restrained but powerful, it’s super grim but also very catchy, it’s the kind of music that pushes buttons in your head and puts you under a dark spell.

Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 9


 

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Helvetestoner
2. Döpt i oheligt vatten
3. Afsked
4. Ændalykt
5. Döden styr livet
6. Gravgaardspsalm
7. Afgrundsvisioner
8. Utfærd
Lineup:
A.Petterson - Guitars, Bass
Graav - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Nordvis Productions
     


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Edited 21 May 2019
 

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