If the ’80s were alive over the last half decade, then it’s ’90s black metal that is following in triumphant pursuit on Sjukdom’s sophomore full-length, Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer. Unlike most black metal from the country of Norway — especially in the mid-’90s — Tromsø-based quartet are swinging swords, over-sized battle axes, and invoking the Black Metal Song Generator from neighboring country Sweden for inspo. That’s not to say they’re not calling the wintermoon or calling upon the Kathaarian life code for guidance when the mood fits, but by and large Sjukdom’s seven-song blazer in Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer feels like the heyday of Dark Funeral, Setherial, and The Abyss with a Norwegian attitude.
Say Sjukdom to Decibel: “Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer is the long-awaited follow-up to our 2013 debut album Når Alt Mørkner. With Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer we have vastly expanded our formula and crafted an album of apocalyptic proportions. Between tracks like the death-worshipping ‘Dødssalmer’ or the ode to war and devastation ‘I en storm av stål,’ both old and new fans of the black metal genre are sure to find something worthwhile in this album. Enjoy.”
Indeed, if “Enjoy” is part of darkness, evil, and destruction, then, yes, we will enjoy. Tracks like “Nærvær,” “Med En Fot I Graven,” and the epic album closer “Skudd For Skudd” bring us back to the halcyon days of black metal, when it was a formidable force coming out of Northern Europe and the Continent. It also reminds of a time when bands used creepy frames for photos, horribly rendered cover art (anyone remember Satyricon’s Dark Medieval Times or this POST), and productions where the ride cymbal was always the most prominent sound in the mix. So, re-live the ’90s if you were there and if you weren’t now’s your chance to hear what it was all about without the worry of a dial-up modem.
** Sjukdom’s new album, Stridshymner Og Dødssalmer, is out October 26th on Osmose Productions. Pre-orders for CD and LP are available at this LINK. Where only the seasons mark the paths of time and crimson towers rise high in a land forlorn where the dawn no more rises… yes! This is ’90s Swedish black metal reborn!