Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Jordablod – Upon My Cremation Pyre (2017) / 93%

Sweden rules divine

This young three-piece from Malmö, Sweden possibly released the best black metal album of 2017 with their debut full length album (out on the always reliable Iron Bonehead.) It’s everything I like about the genre in one marvelous package full of riffs and killer atmospheric bits.

While clearly looking at the olde gods of the genre such as Bathory, there’s a definite will to keep things balanced between ancient and actual. That’s something you can find in contemporaries allies such as The Ruins of Beverast or Tribulation. Like those two bands, creating an occult atmosphere was one of the goals they gave themselves and they truly did that with this record. Jordablod do something new but in a subtle way, it’s all in the details. Their style is an amalgam of primal black metal and barbaric (in the best way possible) death metal. It can recall the earliest foundations of the genres where things weren’t written in stone. They play around with different slow-burning atmospheres, some of them can recall the cold feel of pre-Christianity Sweden where Viking rituals were common (“Hin Håle”) while some others are rooted in fast quasi-folky metal à la Melechesh (“A Sculptor of the Future”.). Those numerous perspectives gave this album an additional coating of quality.

Despite those influences, they’re never silly or sugary. It’s done with good taste and a profound understanding of how their music should sound. At times, Jordablod sounds like a more organic Negative Plane. They both took the first wave sound and made it contemporary. The guitars are vivid, in your face and even in the softer, slower moments, there’s stuff happening. There’s absolutely no filler on this record. The guitar tone has this complex otherworldly charm. The band shines on those epic moments (see the conclusion/solo of “Liberator of Eden”) and I think they’re up there with Primordial for this long-winded intense approach to metal. Just like its artwork, Upon My Cremation Pyre is a grandiose, colourful record full of twists and turns

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