I remember my excitement when I first found Twilight. A black metal supergroup was something that never registered as possible in my mind and to finally see one out of the blue was a shock. Being able to listen to an album that wasn’t just a compilation or a split, but a full on collaboration from some of my favorite musicians in the USB scene was incredible. The group, predictably, fell apart after a hundred different lineup shifts and internal problems, but still the feeling of excitement remained, buried deep down, but it was there. Fast forward to 2017 and there’s another group that some could call a supergroup making waves in the inky blackness that is the extreme underground: Doedsvangr. Featuring musicians from my some of my favorite acts like Sargeist, Horna, and Tsjuder, Doedsvangr is the collective effort that has been two years in the making and I doubt 1000 words will do justice to what this album represents and what it creates.
What makes Satan ov Suns special is not that it is different from other black metal bands but that fact that it is resolutely static. The black metal you will find within the album is nothing groundbreakingly different in any stretch of the imagination. It’s not a post black metal band, not an ambient black metal band, not an atmospheric black metal band. It’s a black metal band and that’s all it sets out to be. Satan ov Suns is a loud, violent, aggressive statement made by some of the best in the underground saying that we will not compromise what black metal is in the name of anything, not progression, not new ideas. Black metal was created to be uncompromising and unfriendly and unattractive. Black metal is the unlight, the complete contrast of everything else that music is today. Doedsvangr expresses this exact message in their album. Within the confines of Satan ov Suns the listener will be exposed to something pure, something uncompromising, something violent, something nasty. This is what black metal was created to be. The sound has changed over time but that is not because the musicians have changed the way they play but the technology that they use to create the music is better.
The music itself is brilliant, the guitars (manned by Shatraug of Horna and Sargeist) are brilliantly complex and technical, something rare for black metal. I’ve loved Sargeist for years because of the guitars and the complex melodies and riffs that make their way into the music. Shatraug brings his talents, not just his name, to the project. His techniques and his visions is clear; his fingerprints are all over the album. The vocals, manned by the man behind the whole project, are strong and virulent. Vocals, as I’ve said a hundred times, are the linchpin of the entire albums. If they are not absolutely up to par with the music, then the entire thing falls apart. If the vocals are not strong enough the music overpowers them and if the vocalist isn’t talented enough, the vocals stand in bad contrast to the music. When I find, or am given, albums I’m never nervous about the guitars, drums, or any other instruments, I’m nervous about the vocals. Doedsvangr, and Satan ov Sons, has some of the best vocals I’ve heard. They are truly strong and powerful, matching the violence and aggression of the guitars and drums. Then I heard something else, and read it on the insert for the album. There are some interludes in the album at the beginning or end of songs that brings the darkness in even more, ambient, gothic, cathedral like sounds that could only be made by one man: the genius behind Metatron Omega. Paleowolf, and Gaetir, the Mountainkeeper. I’ve been a fan of his ambitious work since I started this blog and this album is no different, the album takes on a darker, foggier feel thanks to his musicianship. Doedsvangr is truly pulling in the best of the best to create this album. It’s a black diamond in the black metal pantheon. A work of nasty art (and speaking of artwork, that’s a piece of brilliance that puts Behemoth’s Satanist artwork to shame!).
Satan ov Suns is evil. It’s a black pledge to the darkness that the vision of chaos and nihility will continue for as long as we can. Satan ov Suns is a call to arms, a new anthem for fans of black metal. What will do with such an album? What will we do with such a message? Black metal archetypes are something that I pay as much attention to as I can. The archetypes, the characters, within black metal (not the musicians) stand in utter contrast and opposition to normal archetypes, so much so that I believe that black metal is the only genre of literature that deserves its own set. The archetype explored in Satan ov Suns, I think, is the sage. The archetype here acts as the mouthpiece, the intercessor between “Satan” and the people, a perfect gnostic character to highlight the occultic (but not esoteric) theme of the album. Each person, true to the selfish nature of black metal, is meant to get something different out of the album. We are meant to find an understanding that suits us and us only. Doedsvangr, meaning either fields of death or dead womb (you could write an analysis of just that if you wanted to), did not necessarily set out to create an album that redefined black metal, ironically by stating that it is a static monster whose change comes from the improvement of technique and technology, not vision or style. Satan ov Suns will stand as a lynchpin, a cornerstone of modern black metal. This is the kind of black metal we need now, and thankfully we have it.
Listen and support the music!