Sjukdom – Stridshymner og Dødssalmer

Band: Sjukdom
Title: Stridshymner og Dødssalmer
Country: Norway
Label: Osmose Productions
Release date: 26.10.18
Format reviewed: Digital Mp3

Sjukdom is a Black Metal band hailing from the far north of Norway, not to be confused with the American band of the same name, or the Swedish one. This is their second release and the first on Osmose. Founded in 2011, by members Avsky and Natt. It is a four-piece act, where there might have been some line-up changes since their 2013 album: Når alt mørkner (when everything is getting dark). Sjukdom is firmly planted in the traditional Norwegian Black Metal tradition. There are no keyboards, choirs or any layers of itsy bitsy funny stuff on “Stridshymner og Dødssalmer”, this pure BM. Brought to you from the above the arctic circle, the midnight sun is nowhere to be found on this record. Sjukdom is probably drawing more energy and inspiration from the long cold winter where the sun completely gone for weeks.

The raw energy and furious deliverance is really appealing, it is not without a sense of melody and groove. Stridshymner og Dødssalmer (Battle hymns and Death psalms) contains 7 tracks which brings to mind fellow Norwegian acts like Djevel and to some extent Taake. Not to be taken as copyists though, just operating in the same musical landscapes. In my opinion a good BM record (or any style of record) should played in full, this is one of those records. Variation is not a big thing here, the technical delivery, the great vocals, guitar parts and so forth is the key. The production is great, this is not lo-fi like some of the genre defining albums of the early nineties, the world does go forward.
Every instrument is present in the mix, with the bass a bit hard to grasp at times (like most BM albums, I might add). Stand out tracks must be mentioned and the first “Dødssalmer”, is one of those. It sets the mood of the album; the riffing is superb. Another stand out track and my personal favorite is the slightly different “I en storm av stål” (in a storm of steel).

Norwegian lyrics, tremolo-picking, blast-beats, groove, it is all there. Sjukdom shows that you can play traditional BM without it being stale and stuck following an imaginary book of tight rules. This is a refreshing release, done by very competent musicians, balancing the rawness and clear production. Only problem might be getting this through the jungle of BM bands out there, like they truly deserve.

Mentioning other Norwegian BM band is always the easy way out in a review, but I do believe fans of Uada and Mgla might very well be into this album. 9/10 Harald

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9/10 Epic Storm
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