The sun has been absent for hours, and before me stands a tremendous structure of metal and flame. The giant furnace that I am tasked with maintaining is in full swing, housing 2,000+ degree flames to feed the massive machinery that makes me my money. Powerful conveyor belts roar into the night, a giant drum spins endlessly with a building-rattling hum, and the myriad motors and engines which power this colossal construct conduct a choir of constant cacophony. I admire the sounds and scenery for a second or so longer, knowing that this deafening scene of fire and gargantuan gadgetry will be my last peaceful moment for the rest of my shift: once my headphones go in, Mylingar‘s Döda Själar will begin, and all this encompassing chaos will come across as a quietly crooned lullabye in comparison.
Simply saying these Swedes sound insane would be completely underselling the bands bestial brand of barbaric blackened brutality. Döda Själar is death metal of the blackest, filthiest variety, the kind you turn to when Incantation or Convulsing just can’t quite hit that horrid spot. For 40 mind melting minutes, listeners can forget about concepts like peace and harmony; Döda Själar is as sonically disgusting as Tchornobog, as fierce and primal as Altarage, and as joyful as handing your newborn over to your mother-in-law only to watch her fall off a cliff. Guitars carve death metal riffs into a sea of noise and trvly wretched distortion, and many unaccustomed to such filth will find themselves fleeing from Döda Själar like a hamster running away from Richard Gere. Cavernous and raw, vibrant with violence and venom, this album practically oozes lethality, exuding an audible atmosphere of energized insanity that will challenge even the most devout acolytes of Abyssal. I’m not convinced that the being responsible for handling vocals is even human, yo.
Mylingar speak in gurgling, guttural growls and brutal, bloodthirsty bellowing, as is customary within this scene, yet the language of the songwriting is decidedly decipherable, downright docile to a degree. Despite its delirious drumwork and the deranged dissonance of Döda Själar‘s string section, the song structures that these sounds are used to shape seem somewhat simple when stacked against the often formless ferocity of any of the aforementioned disso-legends. Don’t get it twisted: this mess is a place, yo, absolutely none of this chaos comes across as organized at first blush. It wasn’t until listen 3 or so that I was able to start recognizing slivers of song structures in this squamous soup ov screams and psychosis. To some degree, the presence of clearly defined verses and hooks within Döda Själar renders its ride a little less rough and risky than the rest of the rabble, somewhat undercutting its own savagery. This is not to damn tracks such as “Nedstigningen” or “Mållösheten” as being safe, by any stretch, but a closer look past the murk and malevolence reveals a stable structure at the center of all seven songs, nonetheless.
Speaking ov murk, it should come as no surprise that this thing sounds cavernous as fuck. There’s an otherworldly feel here, a sinister sense of unease that significantly strengthens this style of sonic sadism. The challenge lies in surviving such sickness: though the tracks typically average a reasonable 5 minutes in length, the music of Döda Själar is deliberately discomforting and does not lend itself to the background. Furthermore, much of the Convulsing-in-a-cave carnage is compositionally comparable to its counterparts, occasionally causing confusion as to just which track is playing at any given time. Though I find that Döda Själar functions best as a whole, given the encompassing aesthetic similarities of its tracks, lots of listeners are likely to take issue with the absence of any particularly standout songs and see this sense of similarity as excessively samey and unstimulating.
Döda Själar has proven to be among the more challenging ratings I’ve attempted to assign. There’s nothing too wild going on in the compositions, its tracks do relatively little to stand out from each other and the whole thing is about as comfortable as eye contact with Steel after one too many hobo wines – and yet I hardly hate it.1 It’s not for everyone, and even if it is for you it’s not necessarily the best ov its kind, yet Döda Själar has harrowingly hypnotic hooks and fangs just the same. It might not blow your mind, but it’ll still send said cerebrum scurrying for safety if given the chance.
DR: 3 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Amor Fati Productions (EU) | 20 Buck Spin (US)
Websites: mylingar.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/mylingar
Releases Worldwide: August 2nd, 2019