The Swedish duo known as Murdryck began musical life in 1999 as a “Blackened Dark Ambient” project, disappeared for a time, and then rejuvenated themselves as a black metal band in 2014. Thereafter, they released two excellent albums, 2016’s Antologi MMXV and 2019’s Födelsen. And then, to the sorrow of Murdryck’s fans, they disbanded. But it turns out that the two men behind Murdryck weren’t finished after all.
That duo — bassist/vocalist Lars Hansson and guitarist Adam Chapman — came back together early last summer, inspired to renew their cooperation in pursuit of fresh ideas. Adopting the name Åskog, they ensconced themselves in a decrepit forest house owned by Lars deep in the woods of Värmland and wrote four songs between July and August, which they released last fall as a demo entitled Varg and which we premiered and reviewed here.
The themes of that music were spawned by the band’s presence in that old forest house, with its own morbid history and its wilderness setting, during a time when the Covid-19 pandemic turned the world into chaos. Åskog told us then: “You only have to watch nature documentaries to realize the natural world is truly a horrific place. The great outdoors is romanticized, but the reality is it is brutal with no room for concession or concern.”
That first demo earned Åskog a lot of well-deserved attention and spurred them to complete work on their debut album Varþnaþer, which again lyrically deals with the dichotomy between good and evil in the context of the natural environment. The album is now set for release on May 12th by Grind to Death Records and Leviaphonic Records (both based in Sweden), with additional physical editions coming in June via Germany’s Corrupted Flesh Records. It’s our pleasure today to reveal the third song to be disclosed from the album so far — a multi-faceted, ravishing, and viscerally frightening track named “”Måne” (moon).
In very short order the music explodes in a blaze of wild mayhem made of plundering drum blasts, maniacally writhing riffage, blistering leads, and completely unhinged screaming vocals. The intensity is off the charts, and as the conflagration continues to burn, the music becomes both more frightening and more magisterial. A feeling of fear rises within the turbulence, and when the drums slow, the bright shivering arpeggios generate sounds of chilling eeriness, and the vocals transform into both epic song and caustic snarls.
A fearsome panoramic sweep overcomes the music, but a feeling of carnal lust and predatory peril radiates from the darting and writhing guitar, along with shades of oppressive gloom that spread from the heavy, lurching rhythms and groaning chords in the low end.
Below, we’ve also included videos for the two previously released album tracks, “Tid” and “Vinter“.
Credit for the session drums goes to Rod B. Åskog recorded and produced the album themselves, and Adam Chapman also mixed and mastered it. The stunning artwork was made by Alex at Mayhem Project Design.
Varþnaþer will be out on CD via Grind to Death Records and digitally via Leviaphonic Records on the 12th of May. A vinyl and cassette release by Corrupted Flesh Records should land on June 25th.
https://www.corrupted-flesh.com/product/askog-varthnather-limited-edition-black-vinyl-incl-digital-download (Vinyl + Digital)
https://www.corrupted-flesh.com/product/askog-varthnather-limited-edition-cassette-incl-digital-download (Cassette + Digital)
I did not know Murdryck disbanded. Their latest album was on my year-end list (was it 2019?). I am glad to see they are conyinuing as Askog. This sounds fantastic.