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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Review: Suttungr – Baduhennawoud

Label: Zwaertgevegt

Date: April 11th, 2022

Try saying this three times in a row fast! Hell, I’ve heard the Dutch speak and it’s a fine enough language, but the spelling… Bested only by the German and Finnish. And perhaps the Chinese with the symbols and all.

Now, the band’s name is apparently a character from the Norse mythology and the title translates to “Baduhenna forest”. The forest seems to be a place where a battle was fought between the Roman legions and the ancient Frisian tribes. At the same time, Baduhenna is a goddess of the old Germanic tribes.

And there you have it! The thematic foundation of “Baduhennawoud”. Of course, there are two tracks on this record sung in Dutch language, so that I have no idea what they’re all about. The other two are intro and outro, also with Dutch titles, and then there are two in English which depict the battle and victory against the Romans and a pagan ritual performed in a deep forest.

Naturally, you would expect pagan black metal, right? Some folklore, traditional instruments, chanting rituals…

Well, not this time. Suttungr are deeply rooted in the second wave, Norwegian black metal and do not allow for a fingertip across the set borders of the genre. It’s all been done with guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Not even keyboards. How did they do it? They assembled the necrotic feel of early Mayhem and some of the early Emperor’s atmosphere. That’s it! The whole formula for “Baduhennawoud”.

Of course, you will not hear anything new or groundbreaking. Just honest black metal. Moderately melodic, mostly in the guitar section, to serve the atmosphere. Otherwise, it’s just the bare essentials. Unfortunately, the rough production work doesn’t allow for a more observant conclusion, but what’s audible is not dull. Perhaps a bit on the unimaginative side, but most definitely not the worst black metal I’ve heard.

There are some neat lead guitar solutions that prove Suttungr is capable of something better. The voice is firm and decisive in its attacks, drums pound relentlessly and even handle some of the dynamic effect of the record, bass is obscured almost completely though there is depth of sound here… All in all, “Baduhennawoud” is everything a fan of the old ages of black metal can hope for. A nostalgic trip with some new topics included. Such as the mentioned battle I’ve actually never heard about before (though the online sources are still doubtful about it ever taking place).

Oh, and the cover artwork is a cliché, but we’re dealing with a forest anyway, so I’ll disregard that.

An honest album that gave me a few pleasant hours of black metal and some more knowledge of ancient history which is, for me, never a wasted time.