Åskog – Varþnaþer

Band: Åskog
Title: Varþnaþer
Labels: Corrupted Flesh Records  (Germany) (vinyl & cassette)
Grind to Death Records (Sweden) (CD)
Leviaphonic Records (Sweden) – for digital / license
Release date: 12 May 2021
Country: Sweden
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording

Two things that impressed a lot to me when I started to listen to this album were the clean production and the music quality. I mean, I don’t usually expect a band sounding so good on its debut album. But as I found out later, the two men at charge in the band (Lars Hansson and Adam Chapman) are not new in the music scene, so this helps a lot, I guess. Anyway, this is a solid album, let me explain why I like it so much…

Musically, Åskog delivers black metal with a really dark atmosphere, and some hints of traditional heavy metal can be found here and there, along with plenty of doom metal sections. So, this is a variated album and the mixture sounds very good, I found myself listening to these 8 tracks repeatedly in order to appreciate all the details.

Guitar work (Chapman) is excellent, both in the melodic lines and in the solos. Vocals (Hansson) are powerful, they sound fierce and raw, using different styles and giving the perfect sense of “cold and harsh brutality of nature”, as the band defines their songs’ themes. As I don’t understand the lyrics (Hansson sings in his mother tongue and I don’t know a word of Swedish language), the vocals give me that impression indeed, which I find really suitable. The translation of the song titles are “Famine”, “Winter”, “Time”, “Moon”, “Wolf”, “Raven”, “Fire” and “Ashes”, and these words contribute to my perception. Simple but effective.

The band recruited Rod Nihilist to do the percussion work, and I must say it’s really accurate, delivering an effective amount of brutality when required and also being mid-paced and even more calmed at times. I particularly love how drums sound in the slowest sections, there are a lot of these all through the album.

The last song, “Aska” (“Ashes”) starts with a storm and a raven squawks, and it’s the slowest track, with vocals sounding really desperate and dark; the guitar plays a beautiful solo in the beginning, and a smooth melody leads to the end of the song when there are the raven and the storm again. That’s a fitting thing for an album of this kind, inspired by nature’s darkness. 8/10 Sílvia

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Labels
Corrupted Flesh Records

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Grind to Death Records
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Leviaphonic Records

8/10 To greatness and glory!
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