Review by Fernando on April 26, 2021.
The last decade brought a lot of changes to black metal. One major trend that spawned off the polarizing “blackgaze” style is bands embracing a more punk direction, or going into more atmospheric routes. However, today we have an interesting case with the Swedish band Dödsrit, who are releasing their third album Mortal Coil through Wolves Of Hades Records. While a relative new name, the band has steadily been making themselves known. Starting out as a solo project, the first two records released displayed a unique blend of blackened crust punk with atmospheric black metal, and with their 2018 sophomore they really caught a lot of people’s attention. Three years later in 2021 for album #3, the band have seemingly taken a different direction while refining their now signature tendencies.
In terms of music Mortal Coil is much more melodic than the previous two records and with a melancholic tinge and epic atmosphere in some areas reminiscent of Dissection and Immortal. For example, in the first two tracks (particularly the second track 'Shallow Graves') music heavily features guitar driven riffs that are equally sorrowful and have a grand scope, with fast and aggressive blast beats and double bass drumming, and harsh and dry screeching vocals, all of which is accomplished through the performance of the band as a quartet. Unlike the first two records which were done solo style by band founder Christoffer Öster, he has now assembled a new lineup, and the difference is noticeable from the get go and in the deeper cuts. That being said, Mortal Coil is noticeably more “blackened” than the band’s previous work, and in some places it worked out for the better. For example the title track with its face-melting solo, the punk influence hasn’t been discarded or superseded by the more “atmo-black” style and it starts out like a pure black metal epic where after the already mentioned guitar solo it goes full blackened D-beat for the rest of the track and it seamlessly keeps the more blackened guitarwork, which is impressive in it of itself. That same blending of black metal and punk applies for the closing track 'Apathetic Tongues'.
With all that said, while Dödsrit switching from a solo project to a full band had a significant change with excellent results, that change of direction also caused something of a tradeoff in the band’s style. If you play the band’s discography the change in sound and style of their first two records and this one is extremely noticeable, as the more blackened direction and presence of a full lineup somewhat took away the band’s uniqueness. Make no mistake though, this is still an excellent record and the new direction breathed new life into the band, and like I said, none of the familiarity is completely gone, but it’s very clear Dödsrit in 2021 is a much different entity than what it was in 2018 and 2017.
Overall Dödsrit were successful in their sonic change of direction, even if some of its more unique elements were minimized. Mortal Coil as a whole is a worthy follow-up for this band as they enter a new chapter in their musical journey.
Best tracks: 'Shallow Graves', 'Mortal Coil'
Rating: 8.3 out of 10346