Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Label: Zwaertgevegt

Date: May 11th, 2024

After a short trip through antiquity, it’s time to return with some… Well, in short, antique music. Not that I’m about to drop some ancient Greek or Roman influenced tunes. Pun very much intended, I’m dealing with something along the lines of Ancient, much rather than ancient. So, antique Norwegian black metal.

The Norwegian act can easily be one of the major points of reference for Dodenkrocht. On the same list you can probably find early Satyricon, Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, but also the more up-to-date names like Mgła. The Poles being there only for the atmospheric conjuring of “Coffin World”. In all other regards, this album is a straight-shooter, old school black metal. And the problem I’m having starts and ends there.

Namely, when performing music which has been around for three decades, you really need a standout element that will elevate your work from the vast ocean of likeminded groups. Especially if your band has been active for two of the mentioned three decades and this is your fifth full-length album. Those facts alone should guarantee a certain personal touch and expertise in crafting something out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen on “Coffin World”.

The album is construed of pieces that are able to evoke nostalgia. They do make you think of the special kind of darkness and negativity black metal brought to the musical table. And then I want to put on “The Shadowthrone”, “Under the Sign of Hell” or “Under a Funeral Moon”, instead of “Coffin World”. It’s not a big problem that those albums are better than Dodenkrocht’s newborn, these are the classics of the genre whose legacy is almost unsurpassable, but they simply came first. The recipe was written down in the mid-1990s and its there for everybody with cooking skills to use.

Making the long story short, this Dutch quintet has done everything correctly. There’s the right kind of dark and cold atmosphere. There’s the necessary, pressing and evil aggression; appropriate tempo variations underlining the desired feeling; cutting guitars with hints of melody. Ghoulish screaming vocal could benefit greatly from a higher level of expressiveness, though it also deserves a passing grade for a job done by the book. Production, cover artwork, the whole package is what you most love about black metal.

Thus, there’s no real danger for black metal fans. If you want black metal, Dodenkrocht will make sure you get it. You will not be disappointed for a single second. On the other hand, if you want to be dazzled, your jaw dropped like it was the first time you spun your favorite records, “Coffin World” will fall short. What’s more, the album’s sheer longevity (double vinyl) works against it. Eight minutes, on average, per song is way too much for Dodenkrocht’s creative skills. The songs don’t hold attention for that long and already by the end of the album you get all sorts of wrong feelings. Not to mention that the vinyl version comes with three bonus tracks, dubbed “Monuments” EP. These three keep the same style which only makes me think that the band is set in its way, for better or for worse. Unfortunately, for me personally, with all the reasons mentioned above, it’s for the worse.

My advice is to carefully give it a chance online prior to jumping at the opportunity to order the vinyl (tape and CD are also on offer) and get to your own conclusion.


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