If you know me – and you should, if you don’t, because I’m fantastic – you’ll know that, generally speaking, the wide swath of black metal bores me. But there’s always an exception, of course, and mostly, those blackened efforts that interest me are those that add something to the misanthropic mix of tremolo guitars, blastbeats, and shrieking.
Born from the ashes of vicious Swedish hardcore act Totem Skin, who split up in early 2017, Dödsrit works primarily from a black metal base, but one that’s paired with a hearty d-beat / crust punk vibe that pushes this self-titled debut well outside the realm of the trve and kvlt into something different (and better). Add to that mix some effective and beautiful forays into elegiac post-metal drift, and Dödsrit achieves a blend of styles that places them somewhere in the middle ground between the bleakness of blackness and the crush of crust — icy and yet uplifting melodies weave in and out of punky riffs, atop beats both blast- and d-, and all delivered with a nearly palpable earnestness.
The six-minute “Svard” rips through a killer melody, before going full-on black metal with a relentless blast beneath a simple riff, and then falling into a Martyrdöd-ian melo-black-punk groove, replete with call-and-response raw-throated vocals. And then all of that gives way to the chiming arpeggios of “The Void,” a Neurosis-y blend of nearly clean guitars and tribal drumming that flirts briefly with blasting speed before settling into a melodic instrumental middle section at a post-metal pace and finally resolving with a closing three minutes of further black-crust glory.
None of the sounds in Dödsrit’s palette are particularly new, but the whole of it is assembled so skillfully that this album feels fresh, energized, vital. Not as Bathory-indebted as Martyrdöd, nor as rudimentary as Darkthrone’s crust-punk endeavors, nor as punk-ish as Iskra, Dödsrit treads similar ground without sounding entirely like any of their neighbors. This eponymous offering is one hell of a great start for a new project, and since it’s also currently a Name Your Price download on Bandcamp, Dödsrit should immediately find itself in the collection of anyone with even the slightest interest in either black metal and d-beat, and especially those predisposed to both, for there is greatness in that sweet, sweet spot where the twain shall meet.
An absolute gem, this one, and it should not be overlooked.