Osmose Productions is one of those labels where you learn pretty quick to pay attention to whatever they put out because you know that it will be special. So, though I had never previously heard of Sjukdom I knew that it would be worthwhile to check them out.
I was pleased to discover a black metal band who not only discover the beauty that the genre has embraced but also the old school magic. this is a band who adore the transcendent and powerful aspects of the music whilst simultaneously conjuring up images of demons and from a time forgot.
The blasphemous invocations of Sjukdom on Stridshymner Og Dodssalmer have left me absolutely mesmerized, constantly pushing the band to new heights and hinting at bold new futures and exotic directions for their music to take. While this is certainly an album that is rooted in black metal orthodoxy, the band is not afraid to take what feel like left turns, but which frequently make sense within the greater context of the groups work. This is a powerful listen that reminds us why we love black metal and comes out as a swaggering knockout punch.
I think what gets me about Stridshymner Og Dodssalmer is the unrelenting assault that this album brings to the table. These tracks have the sort of neverending sonic torment that made the second wave of black metal so great. They burst forward with an almost punk-like energy, but the focus on the quality of the riffs and the sheer power of the songwriting elevates them to something entirely different. There has been a definite lack of brutality on black metal in recent years, especially of black metal doing brutality tastefully.
Stridshymner Og Dodssalmer represents a return to the traditional 90s style but is clearly done through the lens of 2018. This doesn't necessarily manifest itself in a lot of tangible ways, but the larger picture is one that clearly understands the genre in a way only someone with the power of hindsight could. That is not a dig, by the way. In fact, I love the way this band is almost a "best of" 90s Norwegian black metal stylings, it represents a clear and noble lineage many of the band's peers lack.