Den Sorte Dod - Den Sorte Dod [Cyclic Law - 2021]
Den Sorte Dod is a collaboration between two Swedish musicians - Anders Nydam (Offermose) and Daniel Silwerfeldt (Angst). They started the project in 2017, focused in on dark atmospheric music created via analogue synthesizer experiments. Earlier this year, French label Cyclic Law released Den Sorte Dod- the projects fourth full-length album. The album has been released as a either a Digipack CD, vinyl LP, or digitally. The album cover is a black and white photo showing something woody, resembling roots entangled in moss and bits of earth. There are no text elements on the cover. And to be honest, it just didnít work for me. It seems there's no composition or elements to draw attention to. So as a result, the photo seems somehow chaotic or dirty. The covers of the previous albums by the project seemed to be more atmospheric and, to some extent, majestic, accurately conveying the mood of the musical part of the album. But for me, this one just didnít work.
The albums has a runtime of just over thirty-eight minutes long, and consists of eight tracks. It presents the listener with a dark and atmospheric album at the junction of Dark Ambient, classical electronics in the spirit of the Berlin School, as well as slight touches of Dungeon Synth. The overall sound seemed a little raw to me, which, in my opinion, gives some charm to the music. However, in some parts of the compositions, the mids come to the fore very strongly, which creates some discomfort when listening with headphones. Den Sorte Dod have created a rather original atmosphere using analogue synthesizers in the spirit of the early Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, mixing this with synth music very close in mood and structure to the early Vinterriket. However, all this is done in a more minimalistic vein, which sometimes evokes associations with the synthesizer albums of Burzum. Unlike the projects previous album Undergangen, which had clearly audible melodies, making it possible to define the Dungeon Synth traits, the new album, instead of melodies, mainly uses harmonic structures of notes and chords that flow into each other. But the use of an arpeggiator and possibly a sequencer makes up for the lack of explicit melodies and bringing this album closer to classical electronica. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of different sounds here- as analogue synthesizers can be used more variedly, since this type of musical instrument provides almost unlimited possibilities for creativity. However, on the new self-titled album, the pair use classical leads and pads, practically not enriching them with any variations. Because of this, the album may seem a little monotonous, especially in the absence of explicit melodies. Nevertheless, a fair amount of improvisation can be heard here, which enlivens the overall sound picture. It is worth saying that the pair managed very well to create a unique atmosphere, which, despite the Lo-Fi sound, imperceptibly plunges the listener into the gloomy and oppressive twilight of the music, nevertheless possessing some majesty and something cosmic and ancient.
On the whole, this self-titled album is a competent example of blending classical electronics, Dungeon Synth and Ambient. I certainly canít call it a masterpiece, but if you enjoyed any of the mentioned genres, Iím sure you get something from this, though I still feel itís somewhat let down by the lacklustre cover artwork.Sergey Pakhomov