(On February 22nd Amor Fati Productions will release the second album by the multinational duo Bræ, and today we present the following review by Hope Gould.)
It would be easy to open and close this review with just naming the two prolific minds behind Bræ. For devotees to the obsidian underground, just the idea of Sweden’s one-man black metal factory Swartadauþuz, and Belgian ambient master Déhà, collaborating on a project is thrilling. And for those not yet acquainted, we could talk at length about their individual contributions and send you down a rabbit hole you won’t surface from for months. You should definitely still do that, but you should also know that Bræ’s new album stands on its own without the name-dropping. So, for now, let’s focus on what matters most – the music.
2021’s A Thousand Ways to End It All and the forthcoming Av Vålnader Bortom Allt follow the same formula: two tracks that each clock in around twenty epic minutes. Raw black metal is deconstructed into dark psychoactive ambience only Déhà could craft. Both releases are graced with spellbinding dungeon synth dripping in signature Swartadauþuz mysticism, which felt to me like the strongest parts of A Thousand Ways to End It All. The duo still brandishes an improvisational quality that won’t appeal to everyone, but they have a clearer grasp on direction in Av Vålnader Bortom Allt that keeps the soundscapes more immersive than the debut. There are also not one, not two, but eight very satisfying OUGH’s and if that doesn’t grab you, I’m afraid nothing will.