With Krønike II, now set for a January 20 release by Caligari Records, the Norwegian death metal band Dødskvad continue on the journey through the old legends of their homeland which they began on Krønike I in 2020. Founder E.R. (Desolation Realm, Stygian Ruin) is still at the helm, joined by members of Obliteration and Sovereign (among other bands). Taking their inspiration from Norse myths, they’ve compiled four tracks, and they introduce the soundscapes with these words:
“In the midst of bloody battlefields; through thundering heavens; on the outer branches of the world tree; within the deep caverns beneath the roots. Across a blackened land, fate strikes dissonant chords.”
Dissonance does play a role in these songs, along with other ingredients that make them disconcerting. But every song is multi-faceted in ways that constantly will keep listeners on their toes — and rock them back on their heels, with heads spinning. True to the inspirations, the music also sounds otherworldly, manifesting strange and often terrifying visions, a changing pattern of cold dread and crazed exhilaration.
The opening track “Dommedagens Lyre” launches the new record’s assault with vivid, skull-plundering drumwork and blinding cymbal strikes; murky miasma-like riffing and fretwork that jabs, slashes, and groans; supernatural-sounding solos that quiver, shriek, and dive; macabre growls and gasps; strange diversions into weird and warbling tonalities; and frequent tempo changes that include bursts of acceleration in which the drumming and the riffing become maniacal… and in which the rhythms vanish in favor of ethereal shimmering sensations
At the outset of “Etterlatt Til Ulver“, cold, void-like emanations lead into rumbling and rattling percussion, pulsating riffage, and savagely haughty proclamations, and then into a paroxysm of bullet-spitting drums and jittery fretwork fevers that smell of disease. Here too the band engage in frequent tempo and mood changes, and discharge further doses of freakish, preternatural soloing. The band gallop and dart, engage in an onslaught of fleet-fingered but highly headbangable groove, and channel ominous malignancy — with a mad piano arpeggio at the end.
Third in line, “Jakten” has its own eerie intro segment that builds an atmosphere of encroaching horror, and then harrows the senses with deep squirming and slithering riffags and teeth-rattling drum assaults. Additional brain-piercing and head-spinning solos spurt from the surrounding sounds of derangement. The song also heaves like a wounded beast, violently convulses, and descends into troughs of hopelessness and misery, again accompanied by beastly growls and noxious, gagging expulsions.
The band leave the shortest track (“Verdenstreets Rot“) for last, but once again introduce it with a chilling, otherworldly keyboard overture. Unlike the previous tracks, this one has a mid-paced and measured cadence, and the chiming and wailing guitars create a haunting, skin-chilling, yet mesmerizing atmosphere. The music has a deeply sinister cast, and ends with giant rumbling drum booms and the whistle of cold winds.
FURTHER DETAILS: The striking art is a portion of Viktor Vasnetsov‘s 1880 painting “After Prince Igor`s Battle with the Polovtsy”. We also share the band’s comments about the lyrical inspirations of each track, with English translations of the song titles:
Dommedagens Lyre (Doom’s Lyre): A rather obvious hommage to Timeghoul, lyrics play around with the concept of strings/threads of fate in Norse mythology.
Etterlatt til Ulver (Left for the Wolves): Lyrics play around with a scenario similar to Åsgårdsreien https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wild_Hunt_of_Odin.
Jakten (The Hunt): Lyrics depict a wild hunt on the outer branches of the World Tree (Læraðr/Yggdrasil).
Verdenstreets Rot (Roots of the World Tree): Lyrics depict an underground journey to the roots of Læraðr/Yggdrasil.
Caligari Records will provide Krønike II on cassette tape in an edition limited to 200 copies. It’s available for pre-order how: