Though there are countless damning factors stifling artistic growth within inspired and restless youths across the planet at present, the most insidious negator is actually what (most) would assume a great futuristic freedom. The relatively free flow of information across the internet not only allows folks to define themselves carefully, perhaps too self-consciously, but also allows others to ‘publicly’ apply their own twisted mirror and mangle that construction into pieces. As Orwellian as this suggestion could become, the implication is that the young artist cannot help but feel pressure to identify themselves carefully since any jocular garage band or dire formative musical piece has the potential to be a red mark on their ‘permanent’ record online. Malmö, Sweden based avant-blackened spacefaring psychedelic metal trio Jordablod gave a more reasonable description of this greater symptom back in 2017, suggesting that it made great sense to attribute their debut full-length (‘Upon My Cremation Pyre‘, 2017) as anonymous private individuals for the sake of Jordablod existing as a singular musical entity. The ‘catch 22’ being that anonymity breeds curiosity and specificity means an uncomfortable amount of digging (and fabricated association with old musical endeavors) will inevitably express from enthusiastic and/or deranged fans. To disrupt an artists intended anonymous reality only shows a lack of respect for the musician rampant amongst fans who devalue art as a symptom of being depersonalized (into cheaply sold data) by technology themselves. This second full-length ‘The Cabinet of Numinous Song’ is remarkably free from any of the past, though, offering only a vague tonal extension of the intense atmospheric wavelength of its predecessor unto a notably mature work unexpected black metal art.
Dubbing themselves ‘Skåne black metal’ for the sake of vaguely defining their sound by way of place, Jordablod would release two demos in two years after forming in 2015. The first tape, ‘Jordablod’ or simply ‘Demo 2015‘, was by their own admission a soul-searching throng of ideas without intention or any particular inspiration, only achieving palatable atmosphere for thier own black/death metal tastes. Most folks wouldn’t get a whiff of that tape upon release but the second one (‘Promo ’16‘, 2016) would release by way of Iron Bonehead Productions, instantly pinging my own dark psychedelic fetishistic radar with a raw suggestion of what their debut full-length could be. The debut itself, ‘Upon My Cremation Pyre’, was among my favorite releases of 2017 and settled around #24 with a very favorable review thanks to its exploration of atmospheric black metal, psychedelia, and the far-out use of guitar effects that’d caused many a record collecting nerd to suggest it was “black metal/surf rock.” Of course I don’t think I went that far but it’d hit the part of my brain that loves ancient-sourced applications of heavy psych/experimental rock to extreme metal such as Morbus Chron, Reveal, Negative Plane and Oranssi Pazuzu. It was clear that Jordablod had found true inspiration in the creation of their debut album thanks to the right working relationship between members and the impressive vision of the trio’s guitarist, co-vocalist, and songwriter.
Did they plainly iterate and mine the public’s rat-faced superficial observation of ‘blackened surf’, or did they go their own way? ‘The Cabinet of Numinous Song’ resoundingly scours its own path; Though the inspirations are often quite clear, the execution is of Jordablod‘s own making, placing them alongside some of the finest underground extreme metal acts out today. The nearly 8 minute staggering horror of “A Grand Unveiling” comes aptly titled, kicking into its shimmering gothic country guitar unfurl before incarnating a wild blackened post-punk wringing of the neck, not too far from what Witch Trail and Reveal had done to enrich 2019 but with Jordablod‘s own gloom-ridden, ethereal compositional voice applied. It’ll nearly fall out of your head once the melodic black riff that kicks off “The Two Wings Of Becoming” shocks the mind into rapt presence, this song is where the old and the new vision commiserate to invoke new sorcery, allowing the unpredictable directional torrent of each song to desensitize the existing fan from the expectation of the now somewhat ‘plain’-seeming immersion of their debut.
Primed for a rest, and expecting a Morbus Chron-esque lilt from the intro of “The Beauty Of Every Wound” Jordablod suddenly breaks into an almost Steppenwolf inspired heavy rock bustle and without subverting my expectations. This’d serve as the most memorable and entirely mind-warping moment that’d distinguish ‘The Cabinet of Numinous Song’ from previously established trips along the way. If you loved ‘Scissorgod’ as much as I did back in November, or the more ‘hard rock’ implications of Tribulation‘s ‘The Formulas of Death’ there are moments on this song capable of resembling either fine work. A reverb-splashed jangling Ved Buens Ende-esque guitar tone ties each track together tonally while a lighter application of their signature ‘surf rock’ guitar lead sound features as a wild thread carried across the full listen. Nowhere is that surfable tone more upfront than “Blood and Rapture”. For the sake of not doing an actual track-by-track review, the dynamic is well-stated at this point: The implication of a black metal point of view expanding between experimental rock sounds and modern psychedelic metal’s increasing nomadic fervor across more extreme frontiers.
It isn’t a perfect album, the title track is all but inconsequential and “Hin Ondes Mystär” feels anti-climactic placed within the heart of the record. ‘The Cabinet of Numinous Sound’ is yet an evocative and unique application of rock guitar interests to obscure and avant-garde black metal traditions. Jordablod have put some great work into these arrangements without overthinking them, I’d only wished the shock of “The Beauty Of Every Wound” carried over into another song so that it didn’t sound just slightly out of place among the rest of the album’s more restrained hallucinations. Sure, we’ve gotten a bit more Ennio Morricone than Dick Dale on this one in terms of guitar intricacies, but that’d actually be favorable from my point of view. ‘The Cabinet of Numinous Song’ is deserving of a very high recommendation for many of the same reasons I’d so favored Jordablod‘s previous album, the most important being its highly repeatable and immersive full listen along with some freshly inventive sounds that don’t even flinch as they stretch beyond the bounds of black metal.
Very high recommendation. 4.5/5.0
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