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Udånde – Slow Death: A Celebration of Self-Hatred

Slow Death: A Celebration of Self-Hatred
by Gary Hernandez at 29 January 2023, 6:39 PM

UDÅNDE is Rasmus Ejlersen (well, mostly—he does utilize outside talent for drums on each album). Rasmus is a multi-instrumentalist from Slovakia. He thinks. He creates. He rails. UDÅNDE is an Atmospheric Black Metal project. Some might say Depressive Black Metal but, in this instance, I think ‘depressive’ is more of a theme applied to particular albums and less of an ethos applied to the project as a whole. “Slow Death: A Celebration of Self-Hatred” is UDÅNDE’s second full-length album. It was released on December 2, 2022 on Vendetta Records. It is a thoughtful album that evokes just that—thought. It plays like a dark novella or series of grim essays read. I recommend it on a cold night with a thin glass of absinthe.

As a side note, for our American and British readers and for those who aren’t steeped in Nordic Noir films, ‘udånde’ is a Danish word. It means the expiring breath, as in the last breath a person exhales as they die. Perfect name for Black Metal band. Can’t believe there is only one entry in Metal Archives!

But back to “Slow Death: A Celebration of Self-Hatred.”  Rasmus has said the album is "a timeline (2009 - 2022) of private, profound experiences with anxiety attacks, depression and anti-depressant medication. Each song depicts specific time periods of my existence from which were significant for my previous internal struggles." It comprises six tracks and runs about 39 minutes on the standard version and includes extra two tracks and 50 minutes for the expanded. If read together, the titles of the tracks compose a short series of sentences which unfold into narrative. Each title, in turn, is underpinned by a set of lyrics and, of course, a musical composition which digs deeper into that storyline. And while the music is solid, it is this technique, as well as the writing, that blows me away.

So add to the narrative and the music the photos that accompany each track, also taken by Rasmus Ejlersen, and you have a dark and authentic self-encapsulated disclosure of human experience. And as the listener partakes in that disclosure, what you get is connection. Oh, I should mention that the first track quotes Jakob Ejersbo and Morten Alsinger’s modern Danish masterpiece, Fuga—a short novel about disclosure and connection via epistles—and, yeah, there you go. A very neatly formulated approach, this album.

Best tracks? Tough one. My all-out favorite is “Remember Not to Praise the False King.” It’s also the longest of the standard tracks, but that really has nothing to do with it. “Who Got Diagnosed Years Later” and “We Should Welcome the Suffering” are probably next up on my list. With that said, this is an album that is best absorbed in its entirely. I should note here that the two last tracks are much like a separate album. Thematically, they certainly extend the narrative but musically they are full-on Atmospheric. A much different listening experience than tracks one through six.

All in all, “Slow Death: A Celebration of Self-Hatred” is well worth the price of admission. I recommend the full eight track version—so that’s the second vinyl pressing of the limited edition for the collectors and purists and digital download for us mortals. Very interested to see what’s next for this project.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. I’m Not a Pessimist, I’m a Realist
2. Who Got Diagnosed Years Later
3. And Denied All Sense and Reason
4. I Mean, Who Am I to Blackout?
5. We Should Welcome the Suffering,
6. Remember Not to Praise the False King
7. Try to Keep Calm and Embrace
8. The Void
Rasmus Ejlersen – Vocals, all instruments
Martin Barla – Drums
Record Label: Vendetta Records


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