Album Review

Avgrunden – Den Fördömda Jorden (Ominous, 2011)

AvgrundenDen Fördömda Jorden (Ominous)

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Please tell me you remember Avgrunden’s last album, Gremorian Chants, because it was just fucking AWESOME (and now it’s up for free downloading). Well, the previous solo efforts of Victor have rounded out to a full four piece band, and this new album is slowed down, shifted from a doom drone to a more doom psych sound now. This time around it’s a concept album (title translated to “The Cursed Earth” I think) about “the great Nordic emigration to America in the 1800s.” Think Earth covering the Dead Man soundtrack, that’s what this is like. Absolutely enormous. Wide open, expanding to infinity, hulking, dusty, dark, and evil. Midnight in the desert, coyotes & Native American chiefs howling at the moon, resonant guitars making the walls of the Grand Canyon crumble, thundering drums splitting the earth in two. Gets in a serious groove sometimes and turns fucking heavy, beautifully doomed, delicate when it needs to be, but totally fucking epic the whole time. It’s about 75 minutes long and is non-stop amazing. It was released on tape by Ominous, which is now sold out, but I know a CD & digital version are on their way as well, perhaps also put out by Ominous? Who knows. I just know this shit is essential.

Album Review

Avgrunden – Gremorian Chants (self released, 2010)

AvgrundenBeneath The Pyramids

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Sweden might not be the first place you think of when you want to hear some new droney glacial doom metal but Avgrunden (Victor Granat) is doing his part to change your mind about that. Gremorian Chants is a fucking monolith of chugging drone that’s badass to the core.

The first track, “The Gate Of A Hundred Sorrows,” is a catatonic somber loop, very low key, no crushing chords or buzzing feedback. Just a lone guitar echoing through a frozen piece of shit wasteland. But it sets the tone for the entire 75 minute album. It’s not very dynamic, a guitar finds one riff that it digs its heals into, repeats it ad infinitum with varying yet minimal alterations, giving you a ridiculously hypnotic mantra to get lost in.

Granat takes his time, paces everything precisely, rushes nothing. The first hint of anything metal doesn’t show up until about halfway through the second track, when the tension and wind (literally) builds, you’re just waiting for the thunder, it slowly gets more & more intense, until the FX pedals kick in, the amps get cranked up, and it turns into a hulking monster of furious buzzing metal gloom. So fucking amazing.

But all of that is just a precursor, letting you get settled in for an additional hour of bestial reverb & howling slabs of sludge. This is loud, grim, & heavy to the fucking maxx, but still rooted in hypno drone. Walls of solid fuzz detailed with intricate patterns made for burning holes through your skull. The final track is almost a half hour long, a single massive riff exploding & crumbling into a black hole of pure awesome, making damn sure you’re completely incapacitated by the end of it.

Avgrunden is right up there with Sunn O))), Earth, & Aun in perfectly meshing mesmerizing knockout drone with brutal crushing metal. He clearly has a vision, and that vision might be a bit bleak but it’s definitely one that deserves to be in the hands of all those looking to turn their speakers into white hot molten puddles of goo while they try to find the meaning of life on the back of their eyelids.