DJEVELKULT – Drep Alle Guder (2022)REVIEW

A madness stirs in the gut of thy left-hand hungering for any latent aurae carried within a great black pool of defenestrated gods’ bloody bile coagulate. Bent on all fours, serpent eye’d and hissing through forked tongues awry in uncontrollably darting thirst of the humours slathered upon you, become the vile creature intended! Figments and notions necessarily eviscerated from the hand-me-downs of cleverest ancient generational swine-herder find their penultimate collapse within the dark pulse of thee lake-bound and brimstone coughing Norwegian black metal descent of Djevelkult, a third corrupting erupt of nox from the eternally stoked blasphemers mouth. ‘Dre Alle Guder‘ rightfully reaches for murderous, all-limbs flailing venom in sustaining their dedication to a distinctly Norwegian black metal attack and, well, to a fault or grandeur depending upon your fealty to the elder lineage of forms in mind.

Formed in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Dødsherre Xarim but not officially Djevelkult by name until mid-2010 the major appeal of this Gjøvik-based act can be summed as a not-so-new pair of hands upon an ancient craft, wherein a long history of artists have taken hold of Norwegian black metal for the sake of making their own variant free of progressive, heavy rock, thrash or death metal influenced stylistic variation. There’ll be no great need for a full discography reawakening here on my part, having briefly noted past releases in review of ‘Når Avgrunnen Åpnes‘ (2018) a few years ago, but we can still point to late 2000’s Urgehal, later Tsjuder, and ‘Cult of the Dragon‘-era Deathcult for a general idea of how abrasive yet innately melodic ‘Drep Alle Guder‘ manages to be within various fits of inspiration and without refining to the point of say, late 90’s/early 2000’s Ragnarok or Taake. For the sake of bluntness, yes, a band like this will always read as quotidian (or, the “usual”) Norsk svartmetall at face value if you’ve not developed a taste for the broad set of artists that too-reductive thought process gloms together. A record like this retains value within its personal take on a form rather than reinvention or innovation, tuning the experience in such a way that it is all the more potent in the hands of its intended audience and not the ‘new what next’ type.

What Djevelkult bring to the table on ‘Drep Alle Guder‘ is an entirely uncomplicated semi-melodic expression of black metal with a few warts and weirding traits rattling along the well-trodden road they blaze. The best parts of the full listen focus on either terribly ugly abrasion, such as the martial barrage of title track/opener (“Drep All Guder”), or their most viably melodic points of inspiration such as the grandeur implied within obviate standout “I Kuldens Vold” and the ear-drilling resound of “Voidwalker” over on Side B. The only hint of intent given in approach of the full listen is some implication of progress made in melodious affect and majestic forms and these are the major pieces that achieve this beyond ‘Når Avgrunnen Åpnes‘ already fine work outright. The one song that feels like a bridge between past-and-present songwriting, and is likely my favorite overall because of this, is “The Life Destroyer” with its greater overall tension built between thrashing breaks, meditative refrains, and tremolo-blazing verses.

Where the full listen does become somewhat average, or, more of a passing thrill for the well-seasoned black metal ear is its sound design or lack thereof. I did not personally balk at the artificial double-bass drum impulse on this album, its drum pad-feeling hits are however especially loud and might become intrusive to some listeners. I’ve spent the last two decades listening to Vader‘s ‘Litany‘ and don’t have an issue with this sort of thumping, in fact these are the sort of choices that have always made black metal interesting (despite being “remastered” away over the years) as a source of endless personalized variation, yet I cannot say these results are any sort of magic. Either way, I digress… In this case the drum sound would indicate a sort of industrial black metal archetype if we didn’t consider the guitar work being more rooted in the tunefully hypnotic mid-paced spectrum much of the time (see: “Den Forhatte”, “Fordømmelse”, “Perfect Obliterate” et al.) The larger picture is that they’ve traded the daemonic rapaciousness of their previous album for something more ‘epic’ attuned, erring towards more memorably writ guitar work, in turn leaving much more room to notice the rhythm section in motion.

If a pretty good, no-nonsense black metal record with a handful of memorable guitar driven songs can’t be on your radar these days then you’ve likely lost the plot, or, were never there to begin with. For my own taste picking up ‘Drep Alle Guder‘ didn’t have to burn the hair off my nuts with anything innovative to be effective as the guitar work and distinctly Norwegian approach did ultimately suffice. As was the case with their previous record the world depicted, the mindset driving their hand, and especially the melodies had me returning to Djevelkult‘s latest set of wiles for several listens, managing an enjoyable enough time to warrant some moderate recommendation yet nothing to make an insane fuss over. Moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Drep Alle Guder
LABEL(S):Soulseller Records
RELEASE DATE:May 6th, 2022

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