Dark times call for dark music, and if you’ve been paying any attention these past few weeks, we definitely are in the midst of some grim shit. Human suffering, death, people using religion to justify their shitty behavior and reprehensible action all have been in the news cycle, and it’s not like it’s anything new for us or the rest of the world.
With that hunger for dark music at its apex (at least for me), Sweden’s Naturvidrig have surfaced with their debut EP “Sönderfall” that feels like the soundtrack to misery and pain. Their name roughly translates to “obnoxious nature,” and their music certainly can get under the skin of anyone who wants art that’s pretty, polished, and spiritually inspiring. As for the title of their EP, it means “decay,” and that seems to be an ideal descriptor for humankind right now. The world is burning, the soot is gathering, and the blood is pooling, while those who can bring about change are busy arguing semantics, perceived messages from deities, and whatever bullshit prevents them from acting. Perhaps a few rounds in Naturvidrig’s ring would be a perfect message that we see the chaos, we’re swimming in it, and you’re to blame. See, this is what happens when you write an album review the day of a national tragedy.
As for the band itself, it’s a two-headed beast about which we know very little. Helmed by Thomsen (guitars) and Ataraktika (vocals), the band creates raw, poisonous black metal that injects just a bit of death metal sentiment into its DNA. There is some melody worked in for good measure, but it’s there to balance out all of the madness that’s poured into these fiery six cuts. Originally released by the band in February, Pittsburgh’s own Ancient Future stepped up to the plate and put out the album on limited edition cassette (I have one, and it sounds dynamite), which actually feels like the proper format for this one. The lyrics are in Swedish, so I know fuck all about what they’re on about. But you can feel the venom and wretched power that no language barrier ever could hold back.
“Du bistra rekryt” starts the piece by charging out of the gates and storming with bloody battle axes. Grim shrieks rattle bones, while the music gets punchy and melodic. A smothering groove settles in, with the band laying haymakers all the way to the finish. “Miserabilist” trudges hard from the start, with a piece that feels like black clouds are overhead and threatening. The vocals pierce, giving the track a maniacal feel, but later they turn into wild howls that feel like they’ll blow you down and over an embankment. The pace stays dangerous throughout, with the final moments thickening you and coating your face with humidity. “En ytterligt korrupt själ” maintains that oppressive heat, with the vocals shredding, and the track grounding and pounding into oblivion. The guitars later spill out and rip away at flesh, and the pace gets even more insane, dropping the hammer again and again and ending with a murderous assault that’ll concuss your soul.
“Avskyvärld” is an immediate eruption, with the shrieks sounding delivered by a hoarse banshee and the riffs hitting break-neck speed. Suddenly everything comes to a halt, as a misty ambiance arrives, as if the song is enclosed in a mysterious realm. Once it breaks out of the other side, the track rolls on and reestablished its momentum, bleeding right into “Den mörka porten uppenbaras.” There, the drumming kicks down the doors, as the pace hits high gear, and the gruff vocals mete out more punishment. Speedy riffs again come into play, providing a rush but also a reminder that all is unsettled, and from there, the kit takes another hellacious beating before the song twists and grinds into the night. Closer “De svagsintas eviga enfald” has guitars cascading and the most melodic pace so far. The tempo chugs and chews, while the pulverizing thrashing is complemented by mind-altering noise, and a bleeding display pushes ahead. From there, the fires begin to die down, the playing gets cleaner and more atmospheric, and just when you’re waiting for the next attack, the whole things gets swallowed by an atmospheric vortex that finally provides you with mercy.
This is a promising, volcanic start for Naturvidrig, who are another promising new black metal band that have a firm grasp of history, while burning their own path. There’s a full-length in the works from this band, and I’m excited to hear what they can do when they spread their filth over a full release. If you like your black metal raw, relentless, and practically choking you to death, Naturvidrig are only too happy to oblige making you feel even more pain than you do right now.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/naturvidrig/
To buy the album, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/collections/all
For more on the label, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/