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That's $20.01 of my money I won't be hearing again - 59%

ShadowSouled, January 23rd, 2008

I've noticed that Hydra Head Prod have the unfortunate tendency of glorifying all of their releases, whether they be actually worthy of praise or not. I am particularly disappointed with this album, as they promised me "strange black metal" within, and I went out and purchased it. What I got was a slightly sub-par Shining ripoff, with some proggy elements.

Believe me, it's not that Bergraven doesn't know how to handle his instruments. He is quite a competent musician, and could probably do well if he put some heart in what he was doing. However, this album feels dry and dead; while some of the riffs make you believe that something interesting is about to happen, they instantly sink back to the tired, generic Shining template. There was a bit of soloing here and there that wasn't altogether bad, but it still didn't fit into the rest of the music. The drumming is midpaced to slow for the most part, which really doesn't help in keeping the listener's interest in this case.One of the only things that I truly enjoyed throughout the album were the vocals; a similar style would be the performance found in Arckanum albums. The other thing that was mildly enjoyable was the fact that you could actually hear the bass lines. Scattered throughout the album are some truly random prog-rock influenced passages, which really don't fit in with the rest of the music.

I recommend this to anyone just starting to enjoy black metal in general; however, if you already have a fair amount of knowledge about the genre, avoid this steaming pile of generic plastic output. To Bergraven, I suggest you quit this solo project and find a band; as much as you may know how to play your instruments, this isn't doing anything to showcase your skill. And, on a final note: Everyone who enters a store with the intention of buying a Hydra Head CD should take their description with a grain of salt.

Hallucinagenic One Man Black metal - 86%

Lustmord56, January 10th, 2008

So after their recent Xasthur release, drone label Hyrda Head takes another leap into the black metal elite with the second album from Sweden’s one man, avant-garde black metal act Bergraven.

I still think, to this day that Fleurety’s Mid Tid Skall Komme is one of the more under-rated black metal albums that surfaced during the genre’s explosion in the early/mid 90s, and it’s that album (along with a bit of Shining’s more post rock based stuff) that Dödsvisioner conjures up. Rather than the typical depressive, suicidal strains of most one man black metal, Dödsvisioner is a doomy, progressive, artistic, cerebral and frankly, weirder take on the usual one man black metal tones. Sure, it’s got lengthy songs full of lull of adventurous, atmospherics along with pained rasps and whispers, but on the whole, you’re never quite on the edge of suicidal madness but more rather taken to a dreamier, drug induced hallucination.

Also, Dödsvisioner never really feels ‘grim’, with its superb guitar tone and crystal clear rhythm section; the many acoustic segments are never really harrowing, but far more ebbing, expansive, introspective and nervous as heard on the likes of “Det Man Med Själen...”, “Den Svarta Angstens Essens” and interlude “Av Saknad Släcker Jag Ljuset”. Even when Bergraven explode into more aggressive realms like haunting opener “Döende”, “Ondkall” and “Ekot Av Bikt”, it’s rarely a blast laden affair, but more a steady and precise, at times, doomy (“Döende (En Avslutning”) Satyricon or Shining based groove, especially “Känsla Av Livets Nästa Skede”. Even then, those moments are laced with lots of acoustic and progressive injections that keep the tracks on the other side of mental stability.

Dödsvisioner is a damn fine album, and album that artfully crosses the realms of the more typical one man black metal acts and adds some of the flair, unstability and the sheer creative audacity of some of the genre’s more progressive pioneers.


By Erik Thomas (originally posted at http://www.digitalmetal.com)

Sometimes brilliant but mostly boring - 66%

winterheathen, December 23rd, 2007

I first heard about the death obsessed Bergraven, a one man band from Sweden, in a Metal Maniacs interview not long ago. Par Gustafsson's musical vision seemed like something I would enjoy immensely, and I soon downloaded the song"Kansla Av Livets Nasta Skede" It is a speedy black metal tune that mixes in some doom metal elements. I was hooked and soon bought the album.

As it turns out "Dodsvisioner" (Visions of Death) is a mixed bag. The term dark metal is appropriate as Bergraven come off as a less interesting version of Shining. In fact, it seems like Kvarforths band is the main inspiration for this album. The trademark slow 'suicidal' passages, the faster black metal parts, even the Swedish lyrics are all here. All that's missing are the movie samples.

This album is at its best when it's fast. The slow numbers drag on endlessly. I have no problems with slow metal, being a huge fan of doom, but a few of these song go on and on with seemingly no end to them, especially "Ekot Av Bikt".

One thing you can't fault Gustafsson for is lack of emotion as it comes pouring out of every song. From the opener "Doende", which starts out quietly before finally kicking it into gear around the three minute mark, to the finale "Doende (En Avslutning)" which is an instumental track that goes nowhere fast, you can feel the anguish and misery . Still, if you're in the mood for suicidal black metal, you can do better than Bergraven, though there's loads of potential to be great in the future. For now, for all those obsessed with Shining or even Xasthur, Dodsvisioner is a decent listen.