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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Review: Mondocane – Dvala

Label: Fallen Temple / Cold Sun Productions

Date: December 2nd, 2021

Meanwhile, in Sweden, you accidentally leave a copy of your favorite black metal CD somewhere in the forest and, before long, you will get a new, beautiful sprout. Let’s call it Mondocane.

There’s not a lot of information about this band floating around. The one thing I could find is that “Dvala” is their debut full length, released about nine months after the EP that saw the entity arise from the fertile soil of Swedish black metal scene. What’s more, all three songs from the mentioned EP found their place on this album, too. Along with five other ones.

So, a young band, formed by God knows who and with what experience, if any at all. And with a cover art such as it is, things looked shady to begin with.

However, already on “Blinding”, the opening track of this record, it fell into place. The song is the perfect announcement of the capabilities of Mondocane. Fast, dynamic, epic and atmospheric black metal, carefully crafted and imaginative. It was, for me at least, somewhat of a similar experience as I had when first I heard Mgła. Though the song gives out some of the similar aura to the famed Poles, it is noticeable that they are not the sole influence on this young Swedish unit. I also thought of Kampfar, early Enslaved… But the point is that the track reveals just what can be expected from Mondocane. Especially with that ingenious riff that guides it.

Okay, the rest is not on the same high level of creativity. But, what makes “Dvala” interesting throughout is that Mondocane peaks in other directions as well. A couple of instrumental tracks give a differing vibe to the album. For instance, “No Signal”, the first of them is an atmospheric, doomy track, followed by melancholic keyboards and sampling. It is, sort of, introduced with the ending of “Daeth” with the signal for the end of one’s existence. The song in and of itself is, I repeat, not on the same level as “Blinding”, but it remains a welcomed change of pace and place.

Now, when I speak of creative leveling, don’t get me wrong, “Dvala” retains a solid structure and is high above average. Perhaps one or two tracks could do with more thought and imaginative strive. Like “All the Way down” which is a straight forward black metal track like we’ve all heard many times before.

Still, it does not take too much away from “Dvala”. The record is a strong outing for a young band. Could it have been better? Yes, it could. Given the potential on display, perhaps it even should have been. We could speak of an opportunity not taken, but I choose to think of this album as a build-up to some potential greatness Mondocane will deliver in the future.