Sjukdom – Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label: Osmose Productions
Released: 2018
Buy Album: http://www.osmoseproductions.com/liste/index.cfm?what=all&lng=2&tete=sjukdom
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Sjukdomband/

BAND LINE-UP:

Stian “Hul” Hagen – Guitar,
John Christian “Avsky” Karlsen – Vocals,
Andreas Øynes “Natt” Sandmo – Drums,
Nekrosis – Bass.

TRACKLISTING:

1. Dødssalmer
2. Nærvær
3. Lykantropi
4. Med En Fot I Graven
5. Terra Nihil
6. I En Storm Av Stål
7. Skudd For Skudd

REVIEW

For most of us, we’re told way back in childhood that we’re special. That we can do anything we want to in this world, and can be anyone we want to be. We just have to work hard and believe. It’s the sort of advice that has led yours truly to these hallowed digital tomes as an eloquent and respected purveyor of music critique (cough). With such warm memories of motherly guidance, one wonders what makes SJUKDOM special?

Based on the material before us on sophomore release “Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer”, the answer is a resounding “don’t know”. It’s yet more black metal; the sort that you’ve heard a thousand times before. It’s a wonder why bands do this to themselves – it’s a record of unmistakable craft, that much can be granted, but it is also unexceptional in its execution. How many times can you hear black metal played with ferocity, tremolo guitars and blast beats and not wonder to yourself: “Is there more to this?”

Maybe you’re the sort of listener who revels in the big, squishy armchair of aural comfort; a place that feels like home amongst the dusty skulls, candlelight and claw hands, and that’s fine. But don’t you ever wonder if there could be a little something that’ll rouse you from your reclined position and take notice? The opening of “Dødssalmer” will do that, with its vicious swirling screams and fiery volume, but it’s straight into the usual hellfire we come to expect so frequently from the genre. Sit up, then sit straight the heck back down.

That being said, “Terra Nihil” makes a go of using some actual melody, and that certainly does the trick. It’s more than the usual winding, dissonant tremolo runs that have come before it; a little blackened earworm to burrow its way into your brain forevermore. There’s an emotive quality about it that just makes the song tick and would be a useful tool to expand upon for a full release – that would help matters somewhat. Sadly for us, it proves to be the exception rather than the rule, as follow up “I En Storm Av Stål” goes right back to the grip-and-rip approach. “Right, you’ve had your fun trying to be a little intriguing, now get back in there and make with the fire, grimacing and claw hands”.

Odd how we’re told that we can be whatever we want in this world, and the black metal tradition seems to be becoming like every other black metal tradition. Maybe that’s just it: everyone wants to belong to and be part of something, with us metallers often the outside group amongst the day-walkers. So we’ve formed our own group (“with blackjack… And hookers!”), and to be accepted, we need to be like everyone else in the group. Conforming in anti-conformity – nice.

SJUKDOM’s sophomore will no doubt light a fire under those who like their coffee black, in a black mug in a house with no lights at night time, that much is certain. The production, mercifully, doesn’t sound like arse and keeps itself just the right side of raw to avoid thorough ear desecration. It’s everything a stock black metaller could want, but for those with a penchant for daylight, electricity (candles, lanterns, etc.), and variety in our coffee mugs, “Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer” will leave you wanting.

REVIEW BY LEE CARTER

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