An elegantly dressed old man sits at a table in a mansion perched on a craggy cliff above the ocean, writing out his last will and testament. Disease eats his body from the inside out. Black bile froths from this throat. He staggers outside to the cliff edge beneath a storm-wracked night sky. Arms wide, illuminated by the flash of lightning, he launches himself toward the wave-crashed rocks below. But death resists his embrace… or does it?
And that’s all I’ll tell you about the attention-riveting music video you’re about to see, a claymation-styled rendering of a tortured and nightmarish tale in which the border between what seems real and the horror of our worst fears is dissolved.
But I will tell you something more about the staggering, soul-shaking music that the video accompanies — a new song called “Souls of the Nearly Departed” from Pathogenesis, the first music in a decade from the Swedish band V. It will be released on November 8 by Suicide Records.
As bleak and terrifying as the video is, the music is more than a match for its disturbing mood and shuddering intensity. And it sinks ever more deeply into the mind as the minutes pass, lingering like the remembrance of a dark dream long after it reaches the end of its run.
The enormous sludgy riffs and skull-busting drum beats feel like a form of mortification, while the haunting, distorted guitar harmonies both deepen the pitch-black gloom of the music and pitch the listener into a kind of supernatural netherworld, a dimension in which lost souls roam and moan with no way forward to any kind of refuge. And in the flesh-scarring vocals there is nothing but pain.
Those thick riffs not only pound with disjointing force, they also seem to coil about the throat, constricting the air supply, while pulling the listener’s mind down into a lightless abyss — or nearly so, because there is a sorrowing beauty that shines in the melody, if only briefly, before V slowly and brutally drive the final nails into the coffin.
V’s history reaches back to the ’90s, when the band’s original personnel (two of whom had formed the hardcore band Amend in 1994) were amalgamating a blend of hardcore, death, and thrash metal. An EP named VI was recorded in 2006 (but just released last year), and then the band went on a hiatus for a decade, emerging again now with Pathogenesis. And with the passage of so many years, V’s sound and conceptual focus has changed, the music becoming heavier and more freighted with doom, their world-view transitioning into visions of a nihilistic future and “a world crumbling to its knees” — which is indeed what this new song sounds like.
Pathogenesis was recorded at the end of 2016 in studio Midlake, Lindesnäs Dalarna. It was mixed by A. Baier in studio Midlake 2 Nås, and was mastered by Panu Posti, at Mean Seed Lab in Helsinki. For further release info, watch the spaces linked below.
Andreas Baier (Afgrund, Besvärjelsen, Oak) – vocals, guitars, synthesizers
Jonas Gryth – guitars
Jonas Kindlund (Besvärjelsen) – bass guitar
Daniel Liljekvist (In Mourning, ex-Katatonia) – drums