Sweden’s Skogen turn to the simplicity of nature to craft illustrative extreme metal. The latest full-length, I Döden, has the band’s lyrical formula exploring shadowed trenches of the afterlife. I Döden translates to “in death,” hinting at the subject matter invading its nine tracks. The record writhes in the bleakness of black metal and fearlessly walks in a dusky landscape.
The tantalizing introductory piece foreshadows a gathering mood—ominous yet reflective. “I döden” attacks like fierce winds peppered with rain, and acidic vocals bring ears closer to its unlit depths.
The next track, “När himlen svartnar,” cunningly waves a brash black metal banner amid stomping percussion and twisted guitar-playing. “Solarvore” summons the instrumental chime of “Livets ruin,” bringing a pause for reflection.
“Griftenatt” musters a dismal tonality, leaving faint guitar solos to chisel at its suffocating enclosure. A combo of harsh and clean vocals cling to “Midvintergraven.” When the storm of heavy percussion parts on “Svartskogen,” a warm, hopeful acoustic break appears. For several minutes, “Sleep” tranquilly lies against the slow, mournful pulse of the drums.
The offerings of I Döden are dim, atmospheric and chill-inducing. The melancholic singing of “Midvintergraven” give the album a folk tinge, while the biting title track, “I döden,” speaks of absolute fright. The overall idea is that I Döden taps into a twilight state, with each song indicative of an impending demise. Beneath its grim shade, the record sustains a restful vibe until the sands of time surrender the final grain.