Black Metal Roundup: Skogen + Vredehammer + Funereal Presence


Reviews by Jason Guest

Three more delectable delights from the darkness. Sweden’s Skogen deliver their fourth albumin their five years, I Döden; having evolved in  the studio over the past five years, after three EPs and two singles, Norway’s Vredehammer, have produced their first full-length, Vinteroffer; and seven years after the band’s creation, New York’s one-man Funereal Presence deliver their debut, The Archer Takes Aim; Spoilt for choice? Read them all or click on the band names above to go directly to the review.


Skogen – I Döden

Nordvis Productions

Release Date: 7 April 2014

Black, bleak, atmospheric, and melodic, I Döden (”In Death”), the fourth album from Sweden’s Skogen (“the forest”), burns a constant and controlled fire and yet is much more subtle in approach than your average black metal album. Predominantly mid-paced, there are a number of significant elements that open up its vast expanse to give the album a depth and breadth that is nothing less than compelling. With the acoustic parts – opener ‘Vargher’ and mid-album ‘Livets Ruin’ in particular – augmenting and complimenting the darker elements of the album, I Döden’s impact is compounded by the melancholic melodies, understated keyboard work, and clean, sombre vocals. A multi-layered and multifaceted work whose parts, all as beautifully moving and as strong as the next, work for the whole. Dark and brooding, menacing and meditative, an album as rich in texture as it is in earthy delights, Skogen have produced an album that is outstanding.

Skogen - O Doden8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Vargher
  2. I Döden
  3. När Himlen Svartnar
  4. Solarvore
  5. Livets Ruin
  6. Griftenatt
  7. Midvintergraven
  8. Svartskogen
  9. Sleep


Vredehammer – Vinteroffer

Indie Recordings

Release Date: 7 April 2014

Originally conceived as a studio project by Per Valla, over the past five years Norway’s Vredehammer have developed into a full band, one whose slow evolution has allowed it to become the force that we find on their eponymous debut full length. Though there’re the usual firewall riffs, blastbeat drums, and Valla’s harsh, death-tinged vocals to provide the acidic burn that pervades the album, Vredehammer refuse to fall foul of cliché and predictability. With some electronic elements added here and there to augment the soundscape, the album is a collection of well-written tracks, each bearing as much distinction as they do a clear and defined relationship to the others. While Vinteroffer’s sturdy production and its at-times calculated feel can be a hindrance, the album’s quality and consistency is assured throughout and on tracks such as the nine-minute title track the band push beyond what would make this an otherwise standard but solid black metal album. A long-time coming, Vredehammer’s debut is a ferocious statement of intent and one that indicates that after this now-complete machine has been oiled a little more, album number two will no doubt be phenomenal.

Vredehammer – Vinteroffer7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Awakening
  2. Cthulhu
  3. Seduce Infect Destroy
  4. Suicide Forest
  5. We Are The Sacrifice
  6. Sykdom
  7. Summoned
  8. Vinteroffer
  9. Admissa


Funereal Presence – The Archer Takes Aim

Sepulchral Voice Records

Release Date: 13 March 2014

Funereal Presence, the one-man project of Bestial Devotion (drummer/vocalist for Negative Plane), have been around since 2007, their first release being a self-titled EP recorded in 2008 that, after being given out in a very limited number on cassette, would not find its way into the world until 2011. Three years later and we have the band’s first full-length, The Archer Takes Aim. Comprised of four tracks in 48 minutes, it’s an absolute demon of an album.

Steeped in black metal grandeur, the song writing is outstanding, each track intricately woven and plotting an ever-evolving arc that leads us further into the depths of darkness. As potent as they are diverse, the determined and divergent path of each track is one of intelligent design, the album’s dark majesty enhanced by the intricate arrangements and structures. Haunting throughout, The Archer Takes Aim, in bringing to mind the atmospherics of Norwegian black metal of the 90s, is an accomplished album, a relentless assault on the senses, and one that should not be missed.

Funereal Presence – The Archer Takes Aim8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Tower Falls
  2. The Archer Takes Aim
  3. Dämmerlicht
  4. Gestalt Des Endes