Last month we premiered a song from the debut EP Döda Vägar by the mysterious Swedish band Mylingar. At that time I decided to defer my thoughts about the EP as a whole, with the idea of completing a review closer to the release date. That’s one plan I managed to complete, and just in the nick of time, because the EP is being released today by Amor Fati Productions and can now be heard in full.
The music on the EP is a nightmarish hybrid of black and death metal that seems designed with the objective of inflicting torment and terror on a thermonuclear scale. It ignites one violent hurricane of hate after another, each song ravaging the listener’s head with horrendous and even stupefying power. The effect is to produce the kind of adrenaline surge in the listener that I imagine is akin to a near-death experience in a midnight war zone, where you’re surrounded by combatants that aren’t fully human.
Lest you think that the tracks are simply chaos incarnate, that’s not true. They are creatively composed in a way that changes the mood and also provides gripping grooves to latch onto as handholds in these hurricanes. But there’s also no doubt that you must be prepared to weather storms of monstrous savagery before embarking on this harrowing journey.
Pulverizing drum fusillades and bleak gales of tremolo riffing are present in abundance, rising to crescendos of cacophony that tear at the mind. A buzzing dissonance infects the guitars, which in turn infect the listener. They seethe and scathe with arcane energy, ripping and tearing in a maniacal frenzy.
But there’s another recurring aspect to the riffing: It moves from ravenous evisceration to hyper-accelerated jabbing and hammering. At times there’s an unnerving insectile quality to the skittering, and at other times you may envision the mechanistic workings of some brutal automated factory, with huge industrial pistons pumping and die stamps hammering in overdrive — though more often it sounds like machines methodically demolishing things rather than building them.
In both aspects of the sound, the music is cold, remorseless, and inhuman. All of this would be unsettling enough, but there are other vital ingredients I haven’t yet mentioned, perhaps chief among them the vocals. They are a tour de force of horror, fury, and pain — voracious, vicious, and violent. Damned scary stuff, to be sure, especially when the voice rises from paralyzing roars to truly frightful protracted wails and shrieks.
As mentioned earlier, there are wise breaks in the power of the onslaught, when the neck-snapping snare attacks and double-bass demolitions give way to slow, spine-jarring stomps or disappear altogether, when the cyclonic and mechanistic riffing transforms into deep droning tones or eerie arpeggios or an earthquaking bass solo.
At the time of our earlier premiere I wrote about the band’s name, and I’ll repeat that explanation here. As explained by Wikipedia, “mylingar” is a Swedish word that invokes a legend “about ghosts/spirits of unbaptized and/or unnamed children that have been forced to roam the earth until they could force someone to name and/or bury them, in fact ‘killing’ them for real so they can finally rest”:
“In a way, they haunt people in order to get killed/buried. They haunt lone wanderers in the woods, jump on people’s backs and demand to be carried to a graveyard. They are very aggressive and become heavier as you come closer to the graveyard, so that you might sink into the ground carrying them there. If you don’t do as they ask you, they might kill you in a rage.”
Aggressive, heavy, haunting, and seething with rage… those descriptions do suit the music. And the songs are also laced with strange lead-guitar measures that give the music a supernatural aura, consistent with the explanation of the name.
In short, Döda Vägar is a riveting, near-overpowering experience, and it marks the emergence of Mylingar as a new force to be reckoned with in the frightful realms of black/death.
The chilling cover art was created by Beyond Art (Brian Nguyen), who has also worked with Sortilegia, Nawaharjan, and others; the logo was created by Christophe Szpajdel. To order a digital version of the album on Bandcamp (name your own price), go here:
Amor Fati has released the EP on CD and vinyl today, and you can order the physical editions through their site, linked below. To hear the full EP, press play below.