Album: Trolddomssejd i Skovens Dybe Kedel
Label: Signal Rex
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: August 30th, 2019
Hailing from the dark forests of Denmark, Geistaz’ika has unleashed upon us their debut record, Trolddomssejd i Skovens Dybe Kedel. Although Denmark is less famous for their metal scene than their fellow Nordic neighbors like Norway and Sweden, the Danes have nonetheless provided their fair share of cold, northern songs from bands like Mercyful Fate, Illdisposed, Svartsot, Fjorsvartnir, and Solbrud. Now, it appears that Geistaz’ika has come to claim their place in the Scandinavian metal horde.
The album kicks off with a slow, mournful intro O nat du skumle Hex featuring what could be either a piano and/or acoustic guitar (I honestly don’t have a great ear for identifying instruments). Drums and tambourines jump on around the middle, as well as a bit of spoken word towards the end. The music is backed by the sound of a gently blowing wind as if it were recorded in a solitary location in the middle of a forest.
After the intro, we are immediately hit by the familiar waves of wailing black metal guitar riffs as Når Solen Bløder Rød kicks off. The sound of these guitars harkens back to the 90s era Norwegian-style black metal. Soon enough the harsh rasping vocals hop onto the track, accompanied by the backing of eerie, clean vocals. While I don’t speak Danish, I do know that the title roughly translates to “When the Sun Bleeds Red”, and this song does conjure an image of a sun setting over a dark forest, painting the world bloodred before plunging it into blackness.
The rest of the full length songs on the album all contain the same basic ingredients as Når Solen Bløder Rød, but each with their own identity and personality that justifies their separate existence. I Den Spejlvendte Verden features what sounds like a xylophone, while Dødens Horeunge contains a beautiful piano segment that’s almost sounds like it could have come from a lo-fi hip-hop or jazz song. Dødens Horeunge in addition features haunting, clear choir vocals that leak into the next and final track Tågedans. Tågedans is the only song on the album other than the intro that does not begin with a barrage of tremolo-picked guitar riffs. Instead the choirs begin with a cappella harmonizing, before the recognizable black metal instruments swoop in.
All these songs demonstrate different combinations of harsh, speedy electric guitar riffs alternating with softer, slower, more stripped down movements with gentler instruments such as pianos, acoustic guitars, and xylophones, as well as parts where the harder and softer elements meld together. Dødens Horeunge for example features sections where the piano is played over the electric guitars, while I Den Spejlvendte Verden has acoustic and electric guitars dueting alongside each other. This yin-yang gives Trolddomssejd its individuality and evokes a sense of the clashing forces of nature, with the wind coming down upon the trees, which fight to stay standing, and then calm as the wind stops to regain its strength before attacking again. I’ve seen this album compared to the earlier works of Ulver and I definitely can see how the comparisons may be justified. However, Geistaz’ika has still manages to differentiate themselves from being just another cookie cutter black metal outfit.
With Trolddomssejd, Geistaz’ika has drawn upon the past to craft a nostalgic, yet forward-looking album. The Danes’ music here finds its roots in Norway’s 90s black metal, but with its own uniqueness that differentiates them from just being copies of their northern neighbors. The style is familiar enough to draw me in but fresh enough to keep me entertained. The balance between the harsh, electric, and distorted and the soft, acoustic, and clean makes this album an adventurous listen. Trolddomssejd i Skovens Dybe Kedel is a spell spun from the blackest magic. It casts upon the listener a vision of walking through a haunted forest on a gray fall day, with the wind blowing violently, then calming down, before picking back up. With each bend in the path, each uphill climb, each downhill trot, only one who has walked this path several times before may know what to expect.
- O nat du skumle Hex
- Når Solen Bløder Rød
- I Den Spejlvendte Verden
- Dødens Horeunge
Total Playing Time: 44:10