(Sweden’s Dödsrit are back with their first album as a quartet – out this Friday via Wolves of Hades – and Andy Synn has the exclusive scoop right here)
The formula for mixing Black Metal and Crust Punk is so deceptively simple, but so undeniably effective, that it’s really no surprise that the past several years – the past decade, really – have seen such a major increase in bands looking to embrace this particular style and make it their own.
Of course, the crossover between the two styles isn’t a new phenomenon by any means, and stretches back even further than you might imagine, but the fact that it isn’t new doesn’t make it any less devastating in the right hands… and there’s practically no-one else whose hands I’d rather see it in than Dödsrit.
The band’s third album, Mortal Coil, is (if I’m not mistaken) their first as a quartet (previous records having been written and performed solely by multi-instrumental mainman Christoffer Öster) but, initially at least, it doesn’t seem like very much has changed, as each of these four tracks – which collectively clock in at around seven minutes shorter than the band’s last record, fact fans – delivers the same blend of frantic tremolo, frenzied blasting, and fiery emotion that we’ve all come to know and love.
I’ve listened to it enough times, however, to realise that there is at least one key difference – subtle though it may be – and that’s the way in which the band (rounded out by guitarist Georgios Maxouris, bassist Jelle Soolsma, and drummer Brendan Duffy) seem just that little bit more confident and willing to lean in more towards their different influences, and the different sides of their identity, while still staying true to their core sound.
There’s more than a hint, for example, of Amenra’s moody melancholy to be found during the emotive, atmosphere-heavy second half of “The Third Door”, just as there’s clearly a significant dose of Bathory (who, let’s face it, had a fair but of Crust Punk in their own DNA) in the heroic leads and galloping rhythms of “Shallow Graves”.
Hell, the title-track, to my ears at least, owes just as much to the rough-and-tumble riffosity of Darkest Hour circa-Hidden Hands… as it does Storm… era Dissection, while the electrifying energy of closer “Apathetic Tongues” recalls both the caustic attack of Iskra and the peerless melodic spirit of Ignite in equal measure.
Don’t get me wrong, these influences aren’t necessarily new, and Mortal Coil definitely still sounds like a Dödsrit album – Öster’s steady hand on the tiller makes sure of that – but it also feels like the band have have widened, or deepened, their emotional palette/vocabulary this time around, allowing the music to feel that little bit more sombre or strident, tender or triumphant, as the moment requires.
So while, at first glance, it might seem as though they’ve simply embraced the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” on this album, scratch the surface, dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that Dödsrit have most definitely grown as a band here (and I don’t just mean numerically) without losing an ounce of the intensity, or the integrity, which has always defined their music.