Release DetailsLABEL Osmose Productions
RELEASED ON 12/6/2007
Landscapes Of Disease And Decadence
posted on 3/2008 By:
This is one of those albums that’s hard for me to be critical of, since it’s built around mood rather than force or technicality. From whispers, to shrieks, acoustic guitar and blast beats, Sjodogg belt out a fairly solid collection of blackened tracks that are both catchy and uniformly abrasive, pushing no real boundaries or offering too many surprises along the way. Still, I’d hardly call it dull.
Comprised of members of The Flesh, Enthral, and Crest Of Darkness among others, this Norwegian act blends melodic and sometimes razor sharp black metal with aspects of doom and death metal competently enough, but the music doesn’t really intimidate or smother me the way other bands have done with this hybrid style of atmospheric extreme metal. Not yet anyway, but the potential is definitely there. The croaked vocals avoid treading near unintentionally comical ground, more of a blend of mid-ranged guttural snarling with occasional temper tantrum screaming to break things up, along with a death metal grunt or four here and there. It’s all quite well done if not very ordinary for the current times, not lightning fast or complicated yet also not too primitive, and there’s really nothing of annoyance on this collection to discourage repeated listening.
The riffs in “Sequesrta” fall into an oddly-timed march under a rapid fire blast beat just about halfway through the tune that threw me off a bit, but not in a bad way. It was a nice example of how an unbelievably simple riff can be utilized so effectively coming in from left field, eventually slowing things down briefly into a more atmospheric break before revving back up to higher speeds. “The Asphyxiation” has an interesting opening with the vocals done a cappella for a few lines before settling into a methodical, and steady near-doom pace and then launching back into more blasting black metal peppered with slower parts providing some breathing room. In fact, I can’t really point out any moments that are boring, yet the highlights are also few and far between, but I do have to mention “Kiss Of The Blowfly” is the most successful at creating a mood both grandiose and discordant with the broad dynamic structure employed, and serves as an excellent beginning of the end of this release.
I’m still intrigued enough by what has been shown here to want to hear more in the future. This is still a relatively young band, and show many signs that point to greater things to come since they actually do manage to capture occasional feelings of dread and oppressively cloying atmosphere with varying degrees of success. With this collection, however, I’d merely call Landscapes Of Disease And Decadence a nice space filler for the time being until something more is presented to us by the band. Sjodogg is worth taking the time to check out if the opportunity arises since none of this is drink-coaster worthy, and could make a cool second hand gift for a fellow metal friend in some cases, especially if your friend likes Naglfar, or Mayhem.
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