Hädanfärd – Vederstyggelsens uppväckelse part.II

379969If you’re unfamiliar with the obscure and hermetically cloistered community of black metal artists associated with Ancient Records in Sweden, it’s an oversight you’ll want to correct soon. The two driving forces of the label, Swartadathuz and Sir. N, have unleashed an incredible volume of music in the past 3 or 4 years. “An incredible volume”, as in at least 16 bands between the two of them, some of which have multiple releases a year. In spite of this highly unusual level of productivity, I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything I’ve heard from the Ancient Records camp. Rather than bedroom warriors with no sense of quality control, Sir. N and Swartadathuz seem to be studious craftsmen dedicated to their less-than-holy work, and Vederstyggelsens uppväckelse part.II, a full-length EP and one of two Hädanfärd releases this year, is no exception to the rule.

Sir. N is the primary conjurer behind Hädanfärd, though he is joined here by a session drummer and a session violinist. Though Vederstyggelsens uppväckelse part.II is an EP, it’s actually about 10 minutes longer than Smutsiga Sinnen, the Hädanfärd album that was released at the same time. Stylistically, this EP draws from the sparse tradition of combining the harsh vocals, tremolo riffing, and eerie atmosphere of black metal with the depressive, bass-driven sound of post-punk. From here, an obvious comparison to LIK is necessary, but relative to their sound, Hädanfärd is differentiated by an overall approach that is faster, and less eerie and misanthropic than it is oddly triumphant; even cheery in a warped sort of way. Things usually move along at a fairly brisk pace, even blast-beat driven in songs like “Predikarens Svarta Urafbild”, with upbeat drumming, active and clear bass playing, and Sir. N’s strange and unique style of riffing that focuses on long, flowing tremolo melodies interspersed with almost folksy sounding staccato riffs and arpeggiated chords. The occasional violin passage appears on a few songs, and while it isn’t frequent enough to have a strong effect on the album, it does provide some welcome variation when it does.

Some (appropriately) hazy comparisons can also be drawn to Reverorum ib Malacht‘s full-length, Urkaos. Sir. N collaborated with Emil Lundin on the final Dödfödd demo, so it’s not a far-fetched connection to make. Like Urkaos, Vederstyggelsens uppväckelse part.II has an airy, slightly blurred guitar tone; sometimes taking on a cold, reverb-drenched psychedelic sound, and vocals that fluctuate between a throaty bark and frenzied shouts. This guitar tone and vocal style are uncommon in the genre, and it does a lot to define the overall sound of this EP. It’s not nearly as strange as recent works by Circle of Ouroborus, and it isn’t nearly as alienating as a result.

The peculiar style of riffing and song structure is the underlying thread between all of Sir. N’s music that I’ve heard. Although it is filtered through the particular aura of Vederstyggelsens uppväckelse part.II, I can still clearly hear traces of Grifteskymfning, Grav, and Sir. N’s other projects in this EP. It’s undeniably impressive how well-composed each individual riff he produces are, but, having become more acquainted with his work overall, it can start to feel formulaic at times. This is probably an inevitability for someone who writes as much music as he does. Despite this limitation, it seems that every time things start to feel predictable or overly familiar, Hädanfärd unexpectedly conjures a melody so brilliant I’m instantly drawn right back into the windswept woodlands of Vederstyggelsens uppväckelse part.II. Sir. N has a highly refined sound, and though I’m not convinced he’ll be able to hold my attention in the future without structurally expanding it, I’m still significantly engrossed for now. -Jake

Ancient Records

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~ by jakemoran on September 4, 2013.

4 Responses to “Hädanfärd – Vederstyggelsens uppväckelse part.II”

  1. Good lord, that is an insane amount of material. I just looked at the label site. Wow. I like this song. As for all the other material, one wonders what they could accomplish if they spent 1 whole year or two on just one record.

  2. It’s hard to say how much time they spend on all their material. As I mentioned, they mostly started releasing material in 2010, but according to metal-archives many of the projects have been active quite longer… So, who knows. The most recent Grav demo was stated to have been written and recorded in under 24 hours, which sounds disastrous for a genre like black metal, but it’s actually surprisingly solid. It even has some great ideas.

    If you’re curious to check out more, I’d highly recommend Grifteskymfning.

    Fallen Empire is the only place (that I know of) that sells their stuff in the US for those interested.

  3. will do. thanks for the tip. all this is intriguing and unusual to say the least.

  4. I like what I’m hearing on their bandcamp. Just checked the site. Friendly fellows eh?

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