(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Swedish one-man project Dödsrit, which will be released on September 28th by Prosthetic Records.)
Dödsrit’s self-titled debut album (though, at only 4 tracks and just 29 minutes in length, I tend to think of it more as a long EP myself) made a lot of waves and a lot of noise when it was released in October of last year.
And with good reason.
Rich in both aggression and atmosphere, and practically overflowing with gleaming melody and gritty riffery, the band’s sound (actually the product of a single individual, Christoffer Öster) was a brilliantly realised, blisteringly visceral, blend of Black Metal and Crust Punk, that was equally capable of appealing to fans of Wiegedood and Wolves In The Throne Room as it was fans of Ancst and Martyrdöd… and even, dare I say it, fans of everyone from Deafheaven to Darkest Hour.
And, wouldn’t you know it, the follow-up is even better!
Clocking in at a much more substantial 44 minutes in length (though still only made up of 4 songs), Spirit Crusher takes everything that made the self-titled release so good and simply amps it up another notch or two, while still retaining the same core sound and vision.
And while some may have been a little worried that stretching things out like this might have meant that Öster was in danger of spreading himself a little too thin, nothing could be further from the truth.
As a matter of fact, the added space and time allocated to these four songs has simply allowed them more room to spread their wings and flex their muscles, while also giving the more atmospheric and ambient undercurrents of the music a chance to really simmer and breathe.
Epic opener “Aura”, for example, is equal parts shimmering beauty and blistering fury, which rampages along at a near-breakneck pace for much of its run-time, and whose moments of brooding calm and soothing introspection still seem to maintain a sense of unstoppable forward momentum, such that its length (all eleven and a half minutes of it) never threatens to become an issue, and every moment remains an absolute joy to listen to.
The raging melodic torrent of “Ändlösa ådror” cascades over your eardrums like a punkier version of Der Weg Einer Freiheit, with Öster seemingly right at the very end of his tether, but refusing to go quietly into the night, while “A Drowning Voice” delivers a stunning lesson in blasting extremity and scything, blackened guitar work, all balanced out by a plethora of primal hooks and powerful, passionate vocals.
It’s the colossal closing title-track which really puts the icing on the cake, however, with Öster painting his musical canvas with practically every emotional shade at his disposal, moving from slow-burning solemnity to seething frustration, from melodic melancholy to resolute rage, from sombre stoicism to righteous indignation, in a manner which makes the song’s extended run-time absolutely fly by.
Unpretentious, unassuming, yet undeniably glorious in both sound and scope, this album is, in no uncertain terms, an unfettered joy to listen to, from start to finish, and one of those records which reminds me exactly why I fell in love with Metal in the first place.