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Nordvargr - Metempsychosis (2018) - Review

Band: Nordvargr
Album title: Metempsychosis
Release date: 31 March 2018
Label: Cyclic Law

01. Into The Cycle Of All And Nothing
02. Metempsychosis
03. First East
04. At The Crossroads Of Immortality
05. Invocation For A Malicious Spirit
06. Salve Teragmon
07. Manifestation
08. Sweet Death Triumphant
09. Consolamentum
10. Livet Tar Slut

Henrik Nordvargr Björkk is a name that everybody who's into industrial, dark ambient, noise, ambient black metal and similar genres should know. This Swedish musician is one of the most revered craftsman of industrial soundscapes. He's active in the music scene since late 80s when he became a part of industrial/EBM act Pouppée Fabrikk and the influential black industrial combo Maschinenzimmer 412 (later Mz.412). Since then Henrik Nordvargr Björkk explored the broad field of post-industrial music, releasing solo records covering noise, power electronics, militant, dark ambient, drone, blackened noise, experimental and avant garde. In parallel to his band activities, he has pursued a solo career with a vast amount of record releases. Black metallers should know him best from ambient/black metal band Vargr. And now he's back with a new album named Metempsychosis that is simply another classic inside the industrial/ambient scene.

Metempsychosis is pure darkness, thick punishing untransparent industrial darkness, it's closer to dark ambient or martial industrial than to anything else related to this genre. It's a heavy, decadent and apocalyptic record that is thematically a study of how souls rather than being judged by a higher power, themselves chooses what flesh to inhabit. To freely roam between the dimensions and to cling on to any form of life at will. These cycles of life and death, bound in part by flesh, inspired to create these tense and organic atmospheres - all synonymous with the journey of the soul.

Even though that the album will in the first place appeal to lovers of dark/industrial ambient, it has, if compared to Nordvargr's previous releases, kind of a more rhythm and plenty of vocal compositions, among which I must note a guest vocal presence of Trepaneringsritualen in the track "First East". The music is absolutely dark and heavy to consume, dense atmospheres with no space for any kind of light to shine through, you'll be brought into a suffocating and harsh environment, even more black that many of black metal stuff. Punishing industrial machines, some martial sequences, reverberate strong beats, power doomy electronics, dark ambient layers in the background and evil tormented voices are well blended together to offer a cataclysmic sonic experience which in the end can cause nausea to those who are not used to such disturbing cryptic soundscapes.

But fear not if you are into such sounds, Metempsychosis, offers an ultimate death/industrial/ambient experience that will for sure attract fans of old school Cold Meat Industry acts, yet Nordvargr comes with a better production and more dense sound. Just listen how tormenting is the industrial harsh bombast of "Sweet Death Triumphant" or how absolutely black and punishing is "Livet Tar Slut" with those reverberate martial bass pulses, then experience the ritualistic mysticism in "Invocation For A Malicious Spirit", and how cinematic it can be everything in the mystical a bit dungeon inspired title track and in the before mentioned dark/industrial masterpiece "First East", featuring some of the most agonizing vocals you've heard recently. Throughout the ambiance is cold and surrounded by the darkest Scandinavian aura of horror. Metempsychosis is a cult album giving to the listener a special experience of suffocating sonic darkness that will for sure be a highlight of the year for those who are into this kind of devilish industrial/ambient sounds. A special note also to the stunning front cover artwork created by dark minded visionary Dehn Sora.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10