|Artwork by Samos|
When the full album stream of Skogens new I Döden (In Death) was made available a few months back I immediately proclaimed that this just might be an album of the year for me. I made my pre-order of the album before I had even heard the full album to the end and I have not one ounce of regret about that decision.
As I sit here with my headphones on and absorb the music with my ears and feel the music in my gut, I also smell the ink from the booklet and watch the stunning artwork of Samos/Wolkogniv from Folkingrimm Art, all my senses are in use. It is more convenient with digital downloads through Bandcamp, in regards of storing and mobile accessibility, but I still buy physical CD’s and even LP’s, and when the packaging is as well done as this, then I am truly happy!
Skogen has since their formation in 2009 been pretty productive and released 4 albums and has with this release gone back to the sound of the first two albums, which are more atmospheric and slow. The band consist of Jocke Svensson, bass and vocals, Mathias Nilsson, guitars, keys and vocals and Linus Larsson on the drums.
What makes this album great? When three people with a mutual musical/artistic direction and passion comes together and all are equally involved and no boundaries is set, you know something great is about to happen. The tracks have been carefully arranged on I Döden and though I at first thought the slower "Solarvore" didn't really fit the rest of the album, as it is has a little different feeling than the rest of the tracks, it has grown on me, slowly.
What hit me the most, when I first heard the album, was the clear sound of the recording. I Döden bursts out and attacks your ears with brutal delicacy, offering some insane melodic parts, that almost invites to some heathen bouncing around, and the acoustic guitar parts are so delicate and fragile but so perfectly placed within the tracks (the title track "I Döden", is a perfect example of this). Skogen uses keys with moderation just the way I like it; they give the tracks depth and atmosphere and doesn't overpower. Depth and atmosphere is what you'll find on this album whether it is in the more raw and powerful tracks or in the more mellow passages.
And I simply have to quote an anonymous Bandcamp’er: "..."Sleep" should be the song playing for us when we go to wherever the fuck we go when we die.". I couldn't agree more, the track is simply beautiful in all it’s atmospheric, and I would say hypnotic, black metal glory. Thankfully we get +13 minutes of this little masterpiece that closes off the album.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]