Vandöd - _As_
(Ex Mortem Records, 2007)
by: Andreas Marouchos (6.5 out of 10)
Had this album originated from any place other than the ever-productive metal-hive known as Sweden, perhaps it would've faired better on my ears; but given this band's lucrative musical heritage (particularly in their genre of choice, i.e. black metal) there is really little to redeem them of their unimposing standing.

Don't get the wrong impression though: where this band shows its teeth their innate Swedish flair becomes assertively prominent, especially when they embark on fast, pummelling exercises in black metal ferocity. The pounding, slower interims of doom-ish sludgery are effective and appropriately menacing. But still, as a whole this offering remains unconvincing. Perhaps it's because their black metal lacks the caustic conviction of Dark Funeral's early spells or even the six-stringed incisiveness of Dissection's seminal output. Or perhaps because most of the creative élan that this band possesses is shamelessly squandered due to the album's loose musical set-up and dishevelled vocal parts. And this is notwithstanding the fact that their sound is seriously hamstrung by an appalling and incongruent production. In any case, it leaves much to be desired, not necessarily in terms of execution, because there's a lot of eye-poking quality in that area, but mostly in structural cohesion. So to sum it up, although _As_ is definitely a respectful effort, their sound could certainly use some contextual maturity before it can evolve into a standalone and solid musical identity.


(article published 26/1/2008)

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