Vanhelgd - Official Website

Atropos Doctrina

Sweden Country of Origin: Sweden

1. Saliga Äro De Dödfödda
2. Kom Dödens Tysta Ängel
3. Ofredsår
4. I Ovigd Jord
5. Atropos Hymnarium
6. Galgdanstid
7. Kerernas Törst
8. Gravjordsfrid

Review by Vladimir on July 22, 2024.

Whenever I decide out of curiosity to take a look at the latest metal releases on the Swedish isles, I pretty much never come across anything lackluster or boring, in fact it actually turns out to be surprisingly great and highly enjoyable. Had it not been for some of my Swedish friends, I would have not known about the excellence of the death metal band Vanhelgd, which had released their sixth full-length album Atropos Doctrina on July 14, 2024 via Dark Descent Records, which I’ve seen being teased on social media and talked about couple of times before it was officially out in the world. Although generally unfamiliar with the previous works of Vanhelgd, I still wanted to give this album a try, because I always have very high hopes when it comes to Swedish death metal. So, is there really anything I could possibly lose? Stay tuned to find out… 

Atropos Doctrina is one dark and melodic work of death metal with a lot of emotions that flow through the solid riff work with frequent tremolo picking, double-bass drumming with occasional blast beats and intense shouting vocals, showcasing some contemporary approach for the subgenre with a lot of complexity and creativity that nicely carries over from one song to another. Aside from the extremity in the band’s very tight and heavy performance, there is also a lot of extremity in terms of the powerful emotions that each song expresses, especially when it comes to the slower doomy parts like on 'Ofredsår' and 'I Ovigd Jord'. The interesting thing about Atropos Doctrina is that it has a real death-defying vibe to it, especially because of the eerie and foreboding atmosphere that courses throughout the entire album, which is quite evident on a couple of tracks like 'Galgdanstid' for example, where you truly feel like you’re being eaten from the inside. The further you progress with the album, the more it starts to feel like a real gradual descent into madness, as the songs slowly turn into the soundtrack to your life, where you’re feeling beaten down and on the verge of dying, questioning your own being with every second while persisting in this agony. Atropos Doctrina definitely has got a strong psychological factor that haunts the listener from start to finish, and right before you know it, this album has transformed itself into a very heavy turbulent journey that’s split into multiple chapters, where it only gets heavier by each chapter. I remember when someone mentioned that heaviness isn’t just about the musicality and the way you’re playing as a band, but also in the way how you express the emotions through your music, and I can definitely see Vanhelgd as an example that successfully utilizes that approach throughout the entire album, especially because they managed to nicely balance it with their intense performance. 

Like I said before, this album has a lot of complexity, which applies a lot to its songwriting that structurally has a dynamic range of ideas with frequent tempo changes. Even though the album has a very strong stylistic consistency in its entirety, it never feels boring or soulless, because it always manages to hook you onto the songs so strong that it never lets you go, keeping you on the edge of your seat sweating with anticipation. There is no denying that Atropos Doctrina has a very grand sense of delivery to it, especially because you have ton of melodies on this album that further build up on those high expectations, while successfully expressing such heavy emotions, even on the final track 'Gravjordsfrid' that serves as a great closure to this journey. It would be foolish to think that this album is one-dimensional or monotone, because it sure as hell isn’t, not with all the great tunes on this album that can really switch the mood between banging your head like crazy and then contemplating life itself, so it’s easily one of its biggest highlights. What I really like about Atropos Doctrina aside from the great musicianship, is the production by Magnus "Devo" Andersson, who gave us a top-notch modern sound that really cemented itself into Vanhelgd’s mighty output. 

I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but holy shit was I left amazed with what I stumbled upon. Atropos Doctrina is one powerful and amazing album with such quality work of death metal that is really unlike anything I have heard lately. It’s easily one of the most chilling releases of this year that successfully fulfilled its task of entertaining and engaging you fully from beginning to end. If you haven’t yet checked it out, I highly recommend that you do, because words are not enough to describe its majesty and the might of Vanhelgd

Rating: 9.1 out of 10