Swedish black metal practitioners Domgård have been honing their art for quite a while now. Ödelagt is their third full-length release, along with a split LP with fellow Swedes Cursed 13.
The band originally formed in 1997 and there is a distinct nineties feel to much of their music. Tracks such as Töckenhöljt are brutal, frantic, chaotic slices of classic-sounding Scandinavian black metal. It’s successor track on the album, I Geirröds Hall, mixes the epic feel of early Emperor with driving, punky guitars to produce perfect, ageless black metal.
The production on the album is clean and crisp. This, though, doesn’t mean the band sacrifices any of it’s obvious power or primitive destructive force.
Aldar Røkkr is also epic in feel. It’s stomping, almost martial air, reinforced by icy, mountainous keyboards and superb guitar passages, is truly inspiring. But at less than four minutes in length the themes explored in the track feel as if they might have been developed more fully.
The band aren’t always guilty of this. At the other end of the spectrum penultimate track Förgånget lasts a gargantuan sixteen minutes, which is perhaps a little too much to absorb in one sitting.
Though the band clearly have a grasp of the epic and portentous, their music seems to be most effective when brevity is employed in tandem with bombast. Kynjagaldr mixes epic themes, hymnal backing vocals and stirring guitar lines in equal measure. But at under six minutes no one particular motif sounds overused or spread too thin. This is Domgård at it’s impressive best.
Apart from the one of two concerns I’ve outlined, I cannot otherwise find fault with Ödelagt. Devotees of traditional Scandinavian black metal should give this a listen at their earliest convenience.
Domgård release Ödelagt through Carnal Records on December 1st.