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Begrafven – Dödsriket

by Gary Hernandez at 07 September 2020, 2:02 PM

BEGRAFVEN (trans: burial) is a Black Metal duo out of Nybro, Sweden. Way back in 2013 they released a two-track demo and then disappeared for seven years. This Fall they are due to release their first full-length album, “Dödsriket.” The exact release date has been delayed due to the current situation, you know with the pandemic and the end of civilization and such, but if the stars align, we should be good.

When some bands say full-length you get about 30 minutes. With BEGRAFVEN we’re talking close to 70 minutes of sweet melodic Black Metal depravity. The album comprises 11 tracks, two being remixed or re-rerecorded from the demo and the balance being new. Both older tracks — “Universums Grav” (trans: grave of the universe) “Frälsaren” (trans: savior) — stay close to the originals composition-wise but are much improved production-wise. If you are looking for an overall description of the album, here you go: Surprisingly well-produced melodic Black Metal that balances hookish melodies, harmonious chants, and acoustic interludes with coarse vocals, distorted riffs, and galloping drums.

The vocals are all in Swedish, or at least that’s what I’m triangulating based on the band’s locale, the song titles, and the fact the lyrics clearly aren’t English. With similar methodology (trans: guesswork), I’m presuming the album is about the underworld (big hint: Dödsriket means “realm of the dead”) and nefarious undertakings by the sinister lot that populates said place. I imagine there’s also a fair amount of extolling of darkness.

Whereas the lyrics and theme are all conjecture for me, the music I understand. No translation needed. Metal is metal. My list of standout tracks includes “Nyckeln Till Dödsriket,” “Frostfödd,” “Giftet,” and “Frälsaren.” And it seems every self-respecting BM band has to concede to an acoustic track either as a bathroom break for the hardcore metalheads or as a meditative intermezzo for the rest of us mortals. In this case, the very short “Korpens Tystnad” fills that need. I should also say that I love the cover art. Although plainly digital, it is evocative and figurative, telling a story at a glance befitting the album’s narrative.

Maturz and Ursus take their time with this album. I mean they took seven years from demo to debut, so patience is kind of their modus operandi. Throughout the album they thoroughly explore each musical movement whether it’s mesmerizing strains, hammering riffs, or raining percussion. The result is an extended submersion into some well-crafted, pitch darkness much like a trip into Dödsriket itself . . . which actually might be the point.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Nyckeln Till Dödsriket
2. Frostfödd
3. Slav
4. Universums Grav
5. Döden Är Helig
6. Då Jorden Fylls Av Klagorop
7. Giftet
8. I Mitt Mörker
9. Frälsaren
10. Korpens Tystnad
11. Livets Fort
Maturz – Guitars, Drums, Bass
Ursus – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Unexploded Records


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