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Q: Whatever happened to good Norwegian black metal?
First of all, a little background. As much as I genuinely despise the term, Djevel is a “supergroup” of sorts, featuring members with experience serving in bands like Urgehal, Ljå, Enslaved, Gehenna, Kvelertak, Gorgoroth, and Craft. Pretty nice résumé. Quite often, these “supergroups” fail to live up to the hype and the potential for whatever reason. Whether egos clash or are perhaps allowed too much space or even the fact that fans quite often formulate an unattainable expectation of a “supergroup” band, the albums just rarely reach the level that many believe they should reach. Djevel, however, stays true to themselves and the roots of black metal and gives us a dark, atmospheric, and decidedly groovy slab of modern black metal.
The album begins with a sub-two-minute intro track, “Ingen vei tilbake”, of a lone guitar basically just ripping chords and riffs to set the mood, which I find cool as hell and a refreshing breath of fresh air in the “atmospheric intro” department. It’s also the first of two tracks like that with the second, “Djevelslaatt”, falling at the albums midway point. These little breaks do wonders for setting the tone for the album, and they’re also a very welcome change from the countless synth-style intros and outros and interludes and shit out there.
As for the actual tunes, of which you get six, there are really no weak moments. None of the tracks are less than five minutes in length, but relax because nothing goes over ten. Most of the songs have a mid-paced, groovy feel which creates some instant head-bobbing memorability to them. Some even stretch into the doomy dirges that I love to hear some of the old black metal heavyweights like Darkthrone and Marduk pull off.
The production is clean and very crisp. The drums, courtesy of Dirge Rep, a household name in the world of Norwegian black metal, may be a touch too low in the mix, but the guitars have a nice fuzzy crush, and the bass possesses a constant pulsating quality that makes things that much more groovy. The vocals are handled by a the duo of Erlend Hjelvik of Kvelertak fame on the harsh side and Trond Ciekals handles the occasional clean part. The lyrics are all in Norwegian which makes things that much more mysterious and creepy for my uneducated, globally insensitive American mind.
The bottom line is that Djevel is a fantastic band with a very high ceiling if they keep working together. There seems to be a truly genuine chemistry here that many newer black metal bands cannot develop, and the result is an album that provides 47-minutes of fantastic black metal with a great atmosphere. In all honesty, that’s pretty much all I really need.
Written for globaldomination.se