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Nocturnal Will

Sweden Country of Origin: Sweden

Nocturnal Will
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: March 22nd, 2024
Genre: Atmospheric, Black, Crust, Melodic
1. Irjala
2. Nocturnal Fire
3. Ember And Ash
4. Utmed Gyllbergens Stig
5. As Death Comes Reaping
6. Celestial Will

Review by Fernando on February 5, 2024.

Three years since their last full length, the Swedish and Dutch black metal and crust unit Dödsrit is back, with their newest record Nocturnal Will, and once again in conspiracy with Wolves Of Hades. What started as a solo act has become a very reliable and consistent unit since 2018, their brand of harsh and melodic style of black metal with elements of crust punk and hardcore certainly set them above the rest in both the traditional black metal scene, as well as the post-black metal and hardcore scenes.

Since the band are now in album #4, it's fair to say they have certainly perfected their signature sound, and the lineup has remained consistent since the project expanded from a solo outing into a full band in 2018 after the release of their sophomore album. Main man Christoffer Öster who was also the guitarist in the now legendary Swedish hardcore band Totem Skin, and his Dutch crew truly found themselves with 2021’s Mortal Coil, and for 2024’s Nocturnal Will they remain consistent, yet also ever expanding, as all the best elements of the previous record are refined while also adding more elements into their sound, making this record their most eclectic yet.

From the beginning the band wastes no time, album opener ‘Irjala’ is a 10 minute epic filled with melodic sorrow and dejected fury, as well as dynamic riffage and solos, d-beats, a full atmospheric breakdown before bringing back the blistering black metal onslaught any dedicated moshers could desire, and more impressively, it's a blitz, despite the overlong 10 minute mark, the song never feels long. I bring this up because the band display masterful dynamics throughout the album, the most out of left field element is the 45 second interlude ‘Ember And Ash’ which is an acoustic instrumental dirge, and yet it feels perfectly in line with the rest of the songs and the album, especially the track it precedes ‘Utmed Gyllbergens Stig’ which in turn is an instrumental riff-fest.

As a whole the entire record from beginning to end is a blast, and it’s filled with details you will pick up with every new listen, and what’s more impressive is how, despite how the band plays around with a lot of genres, black metal, hardcore, crust punk, classic heavy metal, there’s even some subtle power metal leanings with how the guitars soar and the presence of acoustic guitars also give it a neofolk vibe. The music is consistent, for the veteran black metal aficionado some parts may sound too melodic or too polished, but the band never forget their black metal essence, and they constantly push their eclecticism just enough to flex, but know when to bring it back to black metal, and the results are excellent. It’s melodic but not without grit, it’s melancholic but not overdramatic, the sound is crisp but not sterile, it’s a masterful balancing act through and through.

The last aspect I want to mention is the production, the band has always had a clean sound that’s reminiscent of the hardcore production in bands like Totem Skin, and more traditional melodic death metal, however, the clean sound really benefits the band’s style, because these sorrowful melodies and soaring riffs couldn’t sound as good as they do with a raw production, in fact, it would subtract and hamper the sound and atmosphere. That being said the very polished sound does put a hard wall between this band and other black metal acts, not that they care to begin with, Dödsrit created and mastered their own niche, and the results speak for themselves as this record is pretty much flawless, and even the moments where they stray beyond black metal or punk is more than compensated with excellent performances and a clear focus with a fully realized vision. All in all, Dödsrit have triumphed again, and they crafted another great album that’s certainly a great way to start 2024.

Rating: 9 out of 10