"I Döden" (Nordvis Produktion; 2014)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Skogen are black metal. They conjure up their musical blackness from Sweden. "I Döden" means 'In Death.' I'm not much of a fan of black metal. I find the vocals, when snarled, off-putting. The music, though, now that's a different tune; a tune I can get into. Skogen have some driving rhythms and creepy acoustics on this, their fourth offering. Skogen is Swedish for 'the forest.'

Skogen wrote this album to be played in one sitting, with no interruptions, no rest for the wicked. "I Döden" is almost sixty minutes of music. The arrangements on this disc have a couple of layers: The black evil is on the surface and, when a track with acoustics is absorbed, you get the lift of heavy and are taken on a light interlude. But , don't get too comfy laying back and naming clouds because the anchor of death will pull you back down underground. Skogen are a trio and they sound like a solid band of four. Lots of music emitting from this deep forest band.

The guitar has a doom and gloom element writhing at all times but it's not always brooding in the corner. Instead, it comes out to play solos that have depth and emotion. The production is really incredible, the sound textures give way to each instrument being heard but not overplayed. The folk flavor is present on a few tracks so the whole album encompasses a rich sound while keeping a dull ache present in the back of your head. Half way through the disc the mood changes with some somber acoustics. It's not a long rest, just enough for you to digest what you've heard so far. Then, the evil snarling starts again and we're off to the dungeon once more.

Skogen: Joakim "Jocke" Svensson - bass, guitar, vocals; Mathias "Matte" Nilsson - bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals; Linus "L. Arson" Larsson - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:22 -0400.