“Old dogs don’t have to learn new tricks if the old tricks remain fucking awesome.” ~ World renowned canine trainer and behaviorist, Dr. Morton Van Tinklefritz
Listen, I’m allowed to call metal’s seasoned veterans “old dogs,” because I, too, am an old dog involved with metal. If you are not an old dog, you are not allowed to openly refer to us as “old dogs”—that’s called ageism, and we’ll not stand for it. Mostly because we’d rather be sitting, but also because we’ve earned the right to be crabby.
Wait… There are some new tricks here. Forget everything I just said. Dold Vorde Ens Navn play amorphous True Norwegian Black Metal with a twist in the myth.
Anyway, here’s what’s going on with Dold Vorde Ens Navn (which, curiously enough, translates to Hide Our Name):
• Håvard Jørgensen (ex-Satyricon (first demo), ex-Ulver (1993-1998)) – guitars
• Vicotnik (Dødheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende) – vocals
• Cerberus (ex-Dødheimsgard (Satanic Art EP)) – bass
• Øyvind Myrvoll (Nidingr, Dødheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende) – drums
Really, it’s that Dødheimsgard and Ved Buens Ende connect that has the potential for throwing the biggest curveball here. Cerberus hasn’t had his toes in the Dødpool for over two decades, but Øyvind Myrvoll is a new recruit (for VBE as well), and anyone who had the pleasure of having their brain flattened while witnessing his drumming for Dødheimsgard at Maryland Deathfest in 2018 will probably: 1) rejoice over the fact that his name is now attached to Dold Vorde Ens Navn, and 2) assume that aggression could very well be one of this project’s principal objectives. And it is.
Vicotnik, on the other hand, has been a driving force in keeping black metal freaky deaky for decades. His association with any sort of metal project could mean infusions of anything from black metal to techno to off-kilter jazz noir to any and all other starships from galaxies far, far away. However, his principal role in Dold Vorde Ens Navn is vocals (he could easily be involved in songwriting as well—that information was not provided), and it is precisely that voice that stands as the most eccentric element attached to this 20-minute EP.
Vicotnik’s approach on Gjengangere I Hjertets Mørke is very much in line with what he’s done since day one: a grand mixture of harsh and clean barking from a man who’s clearly been fitted for a straitjacket more often than most. The prevailing voice here is a sort of lunatic bark that sounds equally as “metal” as it does “scientist fuming with his other self in a quantum world about the inability to move backwards in time,” and it’s flawlessly peppered with moments of pure poison and a considerable amount of calming, but still fairly spooky crooning. Vicotnik, basically, which is a beautiful thing.
Musically, Dold Vorde Ens Navn is a bit more straightforward and bent on sincerely burning bodies to ash. Song number two, “Drukkenskapens Kirkegård” (“The Cemetery of Drunkenness”), is the most immediate in its enthusiasm for intensity, but the rest of what’s offered still manages to burn like frostbite, even if it’s unafraid to occasionally turn on a dime for extended mellow stretches—the closing “Blodets Hvisken” (“The Whisper of Blood”), for example, or the recently released “Vitnesbyrd” (“Testimonies”).
The opening “Den Ensomme Død” (“The Lonely Death”) is likely the most adventurous in its ferocity, though, thanks to the bits of inferno punk that paint the corners, and also because it manages to tromp out one hell of a beautiful ode to mid / late 80s-era Slayer right around its halfway point.
Again, not to downplay the EP’s penchant for moody, sometimes somber / sometimes unsettling atmospherics, but the clearest intention here is to remind folks that Norwegian black metal is best suited for rearranging faces with hellfire. Dold Vorde Ens Navn does exactly that, and Gjengangere I Hjertets Mørke accomplishes precisely what a debut EP is designed to accomplish: leave us wanting more.