Avskräde – Det stora tunga sjuka Review

It’s perhaps not without reason that romanticizing so-called “trve black metal” has become a meme. Avskräde seems to take seriously the idea that the more blistering, raw, and crusty-sounding music is, the more worthy it is of the black metal moniker, all else be damned. This mysterious Swedish duo presents their debut as an uncompromising slice of the past, containing “nothing but traditional BLACK METAL exclusively.” But with name drops as hefty as Darkthrone and Gorgoroth in their promo bio, are Avskräde able to fill these large, spiked boots, or will they exemplify a caricature of the extreme metal culture?

Avskräde claims to play black metal in an “authentically vintage” style, and they definitely deliver on that front. The production is low-fi, the guitar playing is 90% tremolo picking, the drums barely rest from their relentless blast beats, and the vocals are raw and incomprehensible. The band is also loathe to provide any information whatsoever about their identities—not even a pseudonymous initial. If you told me this was a lost demo recorded in 1991, rather than 2021, I would probably believe you. But this authenticity comes at the cost of personality, for while Det Stora Tunga Sjuka contains all the key elements that comprise the “trve kvlt” sound, it contains neither individuating embellishment upon, nor unique interpretation of the template, and so feels hollow and bland.

Everything on Det Stora Tunga Sjuka is competently played in ye olde style but is flavorless and unmemorable. Avskräde follow up tolerable but uninspired riffs (“Undergång,” “När Stillheten Stundar”) with unimaginative variations that are either the same notes in a different tempo (“Aldrig mer Skall Solen Bränna,”) or a single chord repeated over several bars (“Av Jord Är Du Kommen”). Riffs and compositions are so consistently similar and so utterly generic-sounding that it’s a real challenge to individuate songs and remember anything about them once they end. Even upon my nth listen, I had to keep an eye on the track titles to know which song was playing. The apparent fear of variation is also evident in the vocals, which rarely stray from a monotonous raw bark, with none of the howls, shrieks, gutturals, or spoken word of even the O.G. acts they profess to imitate.

Det Stora Tunga Sjuka may check all the boxes of traditional black metal, but it does not manage to avoid the pitfall of being incredibly dull. Early black metal was, to an extent, minimalistic, but it had character, and this has none. This sounds like what people who don’t like black metal think all black metal sounds like, and if it did, they would be right to hate it.  Avskräde has not captured the iconic sound they were going for, save its most superficial form. The music they are supposedly drawing from packs more flair and atmosphere than anything on this record. Perhaps it was a wise choice of theirs not to disclose their identities. There are plenty of other black metal acts producing albums in a style that channels the classics whilst making something unique. You’re probably better off listening to those.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 12 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Purity Through Fire
Websites: avskraede.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/avskräde
Releases Worldwide: December 12th, 2021

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