Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Sorgeldom - Inner Receivings (2010) 75/100.

The return of Sorgeldom with their new full-length, entitled ‘Inner Receivings’, has seen a multitude of transformations from within the band. This doesn’t have anything to do with the line-up, but mainly the sound of the band. The debut was very mean-spirited with its use of heavy distortion and wall-of-sound driven atmospherics, but this sophomore, which can be summed up by songs like the instrumental ‘Vintern Var Hård’ alone, is a lot lighter and more focused on instrumentation and song writing that the pulverising atmosphere that soon became the main ploy of ‘Innerlig Förmörkelse’. With two of the three members now working with an additional band, Whirling, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me that this album is somewhat like the new Whirling material. Bar the vocal displays of Dr. Sunden, who is the only member of this band not to take part in Whirling’s new album, the material takes on a cleaner edge to it with a focus on mesmerising guitars and backing bass lines.

‘Innerlig Förmörkelse’ was quite experimental in itself, too. It had lots of buried experimentation occurring beneath the fuzz and decay of the production. Whilst the production job did give it an archaic feel, the instrumentation beneath it was explorative. The production, on this occasion, has laid off of the heavy factor. The distortion is controlled, the atmospherics are controlled and every element feels much more focused than it did before. Songs like ‘Dårskapens Karneval’ are great examples. They really do transcend black metal with its use of cleanly layered guitars and even clean male vocals surprising popping up along the way. The Slowdive cover of ‘Summer Day’ is particularly important because, although the debut had a certain vibe to it that suggested there was a post-rock/shoegaze feel to the material, this is surely now confirmed by the band with this mesmerising cover being included onto the disc.

The song would normally feel unnecessary given Sorgeldom’s older style of implementing a harsh production over sweeping instrumentation, but that has been resolved now and the production is cleaner, tighter and it tends to flow more fluidly than before, though I still love the chaotic distortion it brings to the foreground on the debut. The song writing is more focused, as I said, which is precisely why a cover of this nature doesn’t seem out-of-place on such an album. The fierce intensity of the debut has relinquished its firm grip of the newer style, which feels more accomplished. The addition of clean vocals, which harmonise the atmosphere on the previous song, as well as using them alongside the layered guitars, gives this cover a perfected setting and environment to implement its dreamy, hazy vibes. Although Sorgeldom do resume normality on the title track, there is still a lot of experimentation occurring which allows more in the way of cleaner instrumentation to flow more productively and never making it seem out of its depth.

The title track is a good example of how Sorgeldom like to shift the balance between clean and harsher styles in quick succession. The song uses a progressionist type of bass beneath the guitars and sweet sounding guitars before bringing back a nostalgic view with the rasping vocals of Dr. Sunden and the repetitious, tremolo based material and blast beats. However, once again, this type of instrumentation is soon accompanied by cleaner stylistic approaches, particularly from the vocals which sound sterner during the faster tempos than they do during the slower to mid paced tempo of clean parts. There have been suggestions that the instrumentation is beginning to, on both Whirling and Sorgeldom’s new albums, fuse a heavy Ved Buens Ende influence into the music, which seems more so true here than it does for Whirling, who have ties to cleaner, occult rock styled bands like Lik and Lönndom. This theme of rock-orientated music, with a deeply brooding atmosphere, is covered particularly well in the introduction to ‘I Väntan På Telefonsamtalet’ with the rhythmic drumming and psychedelic guitars.

This style of mixing black metal with cleaner passages of instrumentation and cleanly sung vocals isn’t new. A lot of bands seem to be adopting this style of late, like Svarti Loghin, whose new album, ‘Drifting Through The Void’, utilises influences from country, to progressive rock of the 60’s. There is a psychedelic feel to bands like this, as shown in the title track on this album. The vocals play a huge part in drawing all the influences together and they do a good job at this, showing a more experimental side than they previously had on the debut. The newer style isn’t always as sweet natured, as songs like ‘Drömmarnas Galax’ do take on a darker side to them with the distant, haunting vocals and the tremolo based style, though the atmosphere is very muted and not quite as in-your-face as the debut. This song takes on a shoegazing style that the Slowdive song covered with perhaps more depth and quality. In conclusion, this doesn’t feel as powerful as the debut, given the winding down of the distortion and the focus on more reflective instrumentation. The album starts slowly, but gradually builds into a fierce force.

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