A worthy investment for fans of depressive black metal…
Review by Dan Alderson
Release date: 29 May 2015
With a host of releases to their name, including multiple full lengths, EP’s and splits, Vanhelga claim to “lead the Swedish DSBM scene”. A bold and cocky claim. However, if their discography is all to a consistent standard on par with the material of the Ångest EP, the claim may hold a certain degree of weight. Comparisons here can be made to acts such as Lifelover and Forgotten Tomb, but instead of combining DBM with Doom Metal like Forgotten Tomb did so well with their early releases, Vanhelga throw in more traditional Black Metal sections into the midst, as is fully embraced on the opening track ‘Desperation’.
’Pessimist’ and ‘Sorg’ show the band settling into the Depressive / Post Metal style they bill themselves as. The latter is the obvious highlight making me think of a more depressive ‘The Mantle’ period Agalloch. With excellent use of somber melodies and overlying piano use, making this the strongest cut here. Whilst the former gives me Brave Murder Day vibes, not a bad thing in my books.‘Suicide’ is the most adventurous song and acts as the true closer, blending the more traditional black metal sound with depressive melodies. The title track serves as an atmospheric outro, showcasing pleasant and tranquil use of clean guitars, giving the release a bittersweet ending and serves as a nice close to proceedings.
It’s good to see a band blending the depressive style of black metal with some actual riffs, as this is the first time I have ever really encountered someone attempting this. However, I feel that Vanhelga don’t riff me as hard or make me descend into sorrow or indifference as much as dedicated acts to either style that Vanhelga aim to combine on Ångest. Vanhelga are a cut above the rank and file here, but are nowhere near on the same level as acts such as the previously mentioned in this review or Woods of Desolation. But, Angest should provide dedicated fans of this style a refreshing change and is a worthy investment of time for fans of depressive black metal.
7 out of 10