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Review

Vanhelgd – Deimos Sanktuarium Review

Band: Vanhelgd
Album: Deimos Sanktuarium
Label: Pulverised Records
Genre: Dark Metal / Death-Doom
Country: Sweden
Release Date: October 12th, 2018

Metal records can be challenging. Some of the more extreme sides of Grind and Noise can be so loud and abrasive that they are physically painful to sit through. Some Doom Metal records have songs that lock into riffs for so long that they feel never-ending. Other records, like this new Vanhelgd album, Deimos Sanktuarium, have so little going for them that they are just a complete and utter slog to get through.

Now, this album isn’t all bad, there are positives to it, just not that many. Some of the lyrics on this album do paint some pretty gnarly pictures. The opener and the track Profaned Is The Blood Of The Covenant feature dark imagery that give the tracks an almost mythologically grim edge. I also enjoy that the album operates in two different languages. It’s always nice to see bands experiment with the vocals over the music, and I think code-switching is a nice way to do it. There’s also an admirable attempt at a lot of genre-bending on this record. It’s nice to hear the band try and operate in Death, Doom, Black, and even a bit of Gothic Metal. Unfortunately, that’s about it for the positives on this album in my opinion.

There are some choices that Vanhelgd makes that are simply frustrating. Even though I enjoy some aspects of it, Profaned Is The Blood Of The Covenant is so obnoxiously repetitive that I’m fed up with it by the three-minute mark. Not only that, but there’s nothing musically interesting on the track at all. It kind of breaks into these blackened passages, but they feel so timid that they may as well not even be there. This track also has the best vocal performance on the album, but even then, it falls a shade below enjoyable. Vocally, a lot of the songs on this album are actually kind of unbearable. The vocals are usually so amateurish that unintentionally tune them out each time I sit through this album. I’m honestly left wondering if they recorded vocal warm-ups and used those instead of trying to capture solid performances. Songs like Här finns ingen nåd and The Silent Observer are prime examples of just how difficult the vocals are. Not only that, but The Silent Observer also closes out with this choral arrangement that sounds like it was taken from a bad Ghost B-side. While I appreciate the attempt to do something different, it just comes across as hackneyed. The same thing goes for the musical switch around the four-thirty mark of Vi föddes i samma grav. I actually thought this was kind of nifty at first, but the more I listened to it, the more I began to feel like it was ripped from a Transformers movie. The vocals and compositional flops on this record are really only half of why this thing is a challenge.

In all honesty, I would be able to ignore the vocal shortcomings and experimental missteps on this album if the music was good. If the band assembled some truly solid compositions, I could brush off almost everything else. However, despite the scope of genres they attempt to dabble in, no single track comes across particularly well. Så förgås världens härlighet is basically just a boring black metal song, and The Ashes Of Our Defeat is a throwaway piece of doom metal. Even though neither of these tracks are particularly offensive, they don’t do anything worthwhile at all. That’s also the case for the rest of the tracks on this album. I never once find myself invested in the music. It’s frustrating that during each of my listens to this thing I have to remind myself to pay attention. Records shouldn’t be a chore to listen to, but this one is.

This was a bad album, plain and simple. I was never once invested in anything that I was listening to. I could maybe see myself being more forgiving if this wasn’t this band’s fifth album. The weak playing, awful mixing, and poor vocals are all issues I would expect to hear on a debut. Even then, most debuts meet higher quality standards. I can’t recommend this album to anyone, everything here has been done better by countless other bands.

 

Rating: 3/10

Tracklist:
1. A Plea For Divine Necromancy
2. Så förgås världens härlighet
3. Vi föddes i samma grav
4. Profaned Is The Blood Of The Covenant
5. The Ashes Of Our Defeat
6. The Silent Observer
7. Här finns ingen nåd

Total Playing Time: 44:15

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One comment
  1. Karol

    “Everything here has been done better by countless other bands.” is a bold statement in a metal album review. Props for swimming against the stream with a low rating of this, I’d give it 6/10, still think it’s more creative than majority of metal premieres this year.

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