Besvärjelsen Premiere “All Things Break” Video; Frost EP out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

besvarjelsen

The message of Besvärjelsen‘s latest single would seem to be pretty clear, as it’s right there in the title. But there’s a secondary, more subtle lesson to be learned from “All Things Break” from the band’s recently-issued Frost EP — and especially from the video for it. That message? If you’re going to film your video on an old train bridge, be damn certain there aren’t any trains coming.

Frost was issued in August after being included in Blues Funeral Recordings‘ limited-deluxe-edition-subscription service, PostWax. I did the liner notes for that version of the five-song outing, which also included an exclusive track, and was proud to help them tell their story in that way, because, you know, good band and all that. Their approach throughout Frost was fascinating in the five members of Besvärjelsen adjourning to the out-in-the-woods home studio of guitarist/backing vocalist Andreas Baier (also of V) to record their parts, and considering that their debut album, Vallmo (review here), came out just last year, a quick turnaround to boot. The time factor does nothing to take away from the progressive sensibility of the songs, however — that is to say, they don’t sound rushed — and the pervasive moody feeling that emanated from the first LP is definitely intact in cuts like “When We Fall,” “In the Dark,” and of course, “All Things Break,” which brings us to the video in question and out to that train bridge in Sweden.

Drummer Erik Bäckwall, who, like bassist Johan Rockner, is a Dozer alum — Besvärjelsen is completed by vocalist Lea Amling Azalam and guitarist/backing vocalist Staffan Stensland Vinrot — sets the scene in his quote below, so I won’t take away from that and recount a narrative you can already read here, but I will note that the entirety of Frost can be streamed below, with the aforementioned cuts as well as the adrenaline build of “Human Habits” and the surge and deconstruction that seems to take place in seven-minute closer “Past in Haze” as the band touches new ground in drive as well as atmosphere. After you dig into the video, I hope you’ll check that out as well.

And please enjoy:

Besvärjelsen, “All Things Break” official video premiere

Lea Amling Azalam on “All Things Break”:

“‘All Things Break’ was the first song I finished for the EP. The lyrics handle the bitter side of relationships that don’t work out. It’s about the emotions when you feel left behind. Not only romantically but the general feeling of loneliness. And that everything turns to shit in the end.”

Erik Bäckwall on the video:

“The video was shot in the northwest of our region by our friend Tony at Az Foto. I had an idea of the video with us isolated in the woods to supplement the lyrics. Tony had done some location scouting and said he had a perfect place for shooting. An old railroad bridge, built in 1903, with no train traffic any more. Close to a waterfall called Helvetesfallet (‘the Hell fall’). The bridge is about 186 feet tall, with creaky wooden planks with space between, so you could see all the way down. It wasn’t a good place to be if you didn’t like heights.

“We had set up the drums on the middle of the bridge and I was just adjusting the toms when Johan shouted ‘traaaain!’ Of course we thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. I turned around and heard the train behind the trees. Me and Lea took whatever drum pieces we could get and ran with the train coming behind us. My first thought was to get away from the bridge, the second was that It’s probably gonna hit the parts of the drum kit we couldn’t carry, bass drum included. Fortunately the traindriver saw us and stopped. We had to do a walk of shame to collect the rest of the drums with seniors taking pictures from the train and face an angry train driver. So after the Stand by Me moment we checked the time table and saw that we had three hours before the next train. So we just got on with it.”

Besvärjelsen “All Things Break”
Taken from the EP “Frost”
Originally released as PostWax Year One, Volume 3
Available at besvarjelsen.bandcamp.com/album/frost

On “Frost” — the follow-up to BESVA?RJELSEN’s 2018 debut “Vallmo” — the feeling of being isolated in a cold wilderness in the grip of higher forces is palpable throughout the five tracks, with haunting, enveloping vocals from singer Lea Amling Alazam, outstanding songwriting from guitarists/vocalists Andreas Baier and Staffan Stensland Vinrot, and the forceful rhythm section of Johan Rockner and Erik Bäckwall (both formerly of Dozer).

“Frost” was recorded in the dead of winter in a cabin in the woods of Dalarna county in Sweden, and mastered by Karl Daniel Lidén.

BESVÄRJELSEN is
Andreas Baier – Guitar, vocals
Staffan Stensland Vinrot – Guitar, vocals
Johan Rockner – Bass, vocals
Lea Amling Alazam – Vocals
Erik Bäckwall – Drums

Besvärjelsen, Frost EP (2019)

Besvärjelsen on Thee Facebooks

Besvärjelsen on Bandcamp

Besvärjelsen website

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Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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Review & Full Album Stream: V, Led into Exile

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

v led into exile

[Click play above to stream V’s Led into Exile in full. Album is out Sept. 13 on Suicide Records and the band will have shows in Sweden on Sept. 29 with Horndal and Jorm and Nov. 7 with Dopelord and Zaum. Info here.]

Based in the Swedish county of Dalarna, which includes towns like Borlänge, Na?s and Falun and borders against Norway in the west, four-piece outfit V offer a fair bit of stylistic nuance amid outwardly crushing sonics. The band began presumably in much different form some 25 years ago, but Led into Exile is their second full-length for Suicide Records behind 2017’s Pathogenesis (discussed here) and a 2016 EP, VI — I’d assume that’s ‘V-1’ rather than just ‘six’ in Roman numerals — that was recorded in 2006 and released in late 2016. With guitarist/vocalist/synthesist/recording engineer Andreas Baier having been involved in a number of projects over the years, from Afgrund to the currently-running Besvärjelsen, one assumes V‘s longer tenure includes a fair amount of time not really active, but with guitarist Jonas Gryth, bassist/vibraphonist Marcus Lindqvist and drummer Daniel Liljekvist alongside Baier, V tap into a post-heavy amalgam of atmospheres on the six tracks of the Led into Exile LP, dividing into two sides and playing toward European-style post-metal — Amenra more than Cult of Luna, to be sure — with shades of hardcore and yet more extreme doomed fare laced throughout.

With fervent crash and lumber, V‘s songs work in linear fashion to squeeze the air from your lungs as only their kind of rhythmic churn can, crafting a tension that’s affecting in mood and ambience. Beginning with “Broadcast from the Shadows,” each side of Led into Exile works in a pattern of running a longer song into a shorter one, then putting an even longer one after that — three tracks on each side. This underlying structure speaks to a sense of purpose in what V are doing, and indeed there’s a kind of aesthetic poise to the material, whether it’s the chugging pummel of “Illviljan” — ‘ill will,’ in Swedish — or the acoustic guitar, vibraphone and vocal-based “None Shall Rise Again,” which might owe an even heavier sonic debt to Scott Kelly than the nod-inducing opener.

There’s a not insignificant shift between sides A and B, but the YOB-esque intro to side A capper “Hostage of Souls” has a definite sense of reach on its own, and the same is true of “Broadcast from the Shadows” and “Illviljan” preceding, as intense as they are. The leadoff cut is clearly intended to hook the listener not with an ultra-catchy chorus, but with a standout riff met with massive rhythmic plod, as well as a bit of floating guitar along with Baier‘s throaty, echoing-in-a-chasm or screaming-into-the-void shouts, and it works. At 5:57, 3:58 and 8:02, respectively, “Broadcast from the Shadows,” “Illviljan” and “Hostage of Souls” set the pattern that “Phantasmagoria,” “None Shall Rise Again” and the closing title-track will mirror, but the differences in approach aren’t to be understated. What V seem to excel at is conveying intensity of purpose. As the quick drumming behind the angular riff of “Illviljan” takes hold, punctuated with a popping snare before a stop brings it to the next stage of its evolution as it makes its way back eventually to where it came from, the depth of Led into Exile is writ large in the raw tones and harsh edge V communicate.

v

It’s a modernist brutality, with sharp corners and little interest in quaint notions like mercy. The longer “Hostage of Souls” offers turns from hypnotic and quiet stretches to explosive lurch, breaking around its midpoint to a near-silent ambience of minimalist guitar and (after a minute or so) vibraphone that carries through to its finish in creepy and echoing fashion. Of course, on LP, there’s a side flip between them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if “Hostage of Souls” and “Phantasmagoria” (7:50) were positioned as well with the lead-in from one to the other in mind as well as the overarching mirrored structure of the album, such is the flow from that quieter second half of the one into the outright onslaught of the other. And “Phantasmagoria” continues to build on that, demonstrating plainly the side B method of pushing further into the elements and roots that side A has established.

And while the individual tracks that comprise it are longer, that’s just as true in terms of breadth as it is in runtime. The departure from lurching onslaught into the acoustic “None Shall Rise Again” is a drastic-feeling turn that, while still fair game in terms of the sphere in which are working on Led into Exile, shouldn’t be overlooked. And the fact that it stays acoustic for its 5:31 duration says something in itself. It sets up the nine-minute punch of the closing title-track with an opportunity to both make an impact with a turn back toward more tonally weighted riffing, and that’s not one V let pass them by. Angular churn and biting, echoing vocals are met with an undercurrent of synth after the first minute, a chug and march with an outward feel cutting after about 3:30 into the total 9:09 in order to give headphone-worthy ambient guitar its space to set up the final push.

That last march will take hold at 6:40 and explodes into heavy post-rock tones and clean vocals for a surprising and melodic crescendo that carries Led into Exile to its finish. Even after the shift in the second half of “Hostage of Souls” and the cleaner-if-still-guttural vocal turn in “None Shall Rise Again,” that concluding section is a final expansion of the context for the album as a whole, once more speaking to the conceptual structure on which the two sides are working even as it adds more to the raw palette from which they’re drawing. And it’s worth noting that, for a style not exactly known for its brevity in songwriting, they get there in relatively efficient fashion, thereby rounding out a record that is both clear and varied in its purpose and unflinching in its sonic resolve. I don’t know what V might’ve been doing during those long stints on the backburner, but clearly activity suits them in terms of establishing a forward progression, which is exactly what they do in these songs.

V on Thee Facebooks

V on Instagram

V on Bandcamp

Suicide Records website

Suicide Records on Thee Facebooks

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V to Release Debut Album Pathogenisis Nov. 8; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

v

I’m not entirely sure what’s happening in the new video from minimally-monikered Swedish post-sludgers V, but I do know it’s spectacularly creepy in that special way that only stop-motion animation can truly be. Wallace and Gromit? That shit is terrifying to me. I mean it. Haunts my dreams.

V come into “Souls of the Nearly Departed” and their debut album, Pathogenisis, with no small measure of pedigree between guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Andreas Baier‘s history in Afgrund, Besvärjelsen and Oak, bassist Jonas Kindlund‘s tenure in Besvärjelsen and Daniel Liljekvist‘s former membership in Katatonia — the lineup is rounded out by Jonas Gryth on guitar — but if the opener is anything to go by, their sound is already pretty thoroughly their own. It unfurls viciously across the eight minutes of the clip, which you can see at the bottom of this post, and portends further scathing to come in its atmosphere and shouts, following up on the ambient vibe of V‘s VI EP, which was recorded in 2006 and unreleased until late last year.

Would be interested to know what happened there and why that was sat on for a decade, but either way, the full-length will be out next month on Suicide Records, as the PR wire duly confirms:

v pathogenisis

V – Swedish Sludgy Doom Quartet Announce New Album “Pathogenisis”

Premiere Video For “Souls of the Nearly Departed”

Swedish sludgy doom metal quartet V, featuring current and former members of Katatonia, In Mourning, Oak and Afgrund, return with their first full-length “Pathogenisis” nearly a decade following the release of their three-track EP “VI”.

Recorded at Midlake studios in Dalarna – Sweden, mixed by A. Baier at Midlake 2 studios, and mastered by Panu Posti at Mean Seed Lab in Helsinki, the new album is 6 songs and 42 minutes of bleak, dark and sludgy doom metal and is set for release on November 8th via Suicide Records.

“Pathogenisis” track-listing:

1. Souls Of The Nearly Departed
2. At The End Of Your Time
3. Pathogenisis
4. Perfect Predator Pattern
5. Suspended Animation
6. The Order

https://www.facebook.com/vpathogen/
https://www.instagram.com/Vpathogen/
https://vipathogen.bandcamp.com/
http://www.suiciderecords.se
https://www.facebook.com/suiciderds/

V, “Souls of the Nearly Departed” official video

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