By Hera Vidal. Atmospheric black metal has always been my favorite kind of black metal due to the eerie softness of the music and the slow build-up between major movements. However, what I like most about atmospheric black metal is the way it makes the listener forget everything—time, space, and reality—and how it transcends the listener elsewhere.By Hera Vidal.
Atmospheric black metal has always been my favorite kind of black metal due to the eerie softness of the music and the slow build-up between major movements. However, what I like most about atmospheric black metal is the way it makes the listener forget everything—time, space, and reality—and how it transcends the listener elsewhere. However, transcendence into death and the afterlife should be something that needs to be looked into. After all, what’s the point of exploring the possibility of dying if you are going to only explore it in the lyrics?
Would you be willing to offer a deeper explanation of Dauðra Dura, which translates to "Door to Death"?
Within a Christian perspective, you have two options: either you go to damnation in Hell for your sins, or you go to Heaven. The life you live now is the one and only chance you get. Within Norse religion, the way that death is understood is very different. It very seldom contains any kind of realm for punishment, and when it is seen, it is very much likely that the source is under Christian influence. I would say that the album is about the journey to Hel within Norse religion as seen from different perspectives. Hel is not simply a place where the dead linger—it is also a place of Wisdom. Hel is a mournful place, but it is also the pathway we all must take sooner or later, god as man.
From Heathen Harvest.
What I am finding to be exceptionally relevant in atmospheric black metal now is the use of a droning hum that serves as the atmosphere creator. Thus far, the majority of the black metal albums I have listened to this year have had that droning hum, some used to great effect and thus creating music that resonates deep within somewhere. However, unlike the majority of said albums, Dauðra Dura (“The doors of death” in English) is succinct in using the atmosphere, and places emphasis on its instruments rather than its vocals or the after effects of the droning hum.
On this album, you can hear echoing drums, acoustic guitars, and violins, with other traditional instruments, such as horns. The music borders on meditative, and it tends to be rather repetitive. However, the instruments, weaved and combined with the constant prominence of that droning hum (possibly created through a synth), are what makes the album so compelling. In fact, the strongest aspect of the album is when the sound changes, and it no longer borders on the repetitive tonality that seems to be in vogue these days. It would have been nice to hear other chants throughout the album, but changing that would have most likely ruined the album’s atmosphere.
This album also reminds me of funeral music; while listening to this, I was constantly reminded of Chopin’s Marche Funebre and I fully expected it to come up while listening to the album. The chanting also reminds me of funerals, except I don’t know whose funeral I am attending. The music does sound religious; as to whom the chanting is directed to remains unknown. By the end of the album, the listener feels that their long walk to the afterlife is over and have met God, who allows him to finally rest. I don’t know if L. Sward’s voice would be the musical equivalent to meeting God, but it’s the closest analogy we have for comparison.
All in all, it’s a beautiful, well-crafted album that conveys religious music a la Batushka, with the exception that is not as bombastic as Litourgiya. It does border on being repetitive, but it’s comforting and peaceful. Anyone who is looking for something loud and bombastic should not listen to this, but if soft, airy music is more your forte, then I wholeheartedly recommend this album.