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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Sdug Bsngal - Πάθει μάθ& [Ominous Recordings - 2022]

Πάθει μάθος (English translation He learned a lesson) is a disorientating and at points downright strange mixture of audibly set-back black metal, elegant piano playing, ambience, crude PE/ noisemaking, and felt, if at points off-kilter mood music- all fed through a prism of recording hiss & subtle noise hazes.

The release originally appeared back in 2021, as a self-released digital album. Here from Stockholm’s Ominous Recordings is a C80 reissue of this curio, which sits between genres in its own strange/ disconcerting place. The plain black shelled, save for a ripped label on one side, is presented in a monochrome cover- this features a crude picture of a naked woman giving birth in a stark room, with a rune circled logo above her. Inside we find the track listings & basic info, set against a plain black backdrop. The tape came in an edition of fifty copies, and as of this review, the label still has copies- to buy direct/ find out more drop by here.

Sdug Bsngal is a two-piece project bringing together Johan Eddebo also in BM project Reverorum ib Malacht,and Rickard Öström- who at one point played in the Swedish Avant-Garde depressive Black Metal band Lifelover. And Πάθει μάθος is their one and only sonic statement thus far- and it certainly is a weird, at points harrowing & puzzling ride.

The release features ten tracks in all, and these have runtimes between one and eighteen minutes. We open with the thirteen and a bit minutes of “ᛑᛂᚠᛂᚿᛑᛂ ᚿᚮᛍ ᛁᚿ ᛔᚱᚮᛂᛚᛁᚮ”. This starts off in a very surprising/ unexpected manner, with richly flowing and ornate, blues-influenced solo piano playing. Then suddenly a distant haze of barely heard BM clamour, wavering synth work, and muffled voice drop-in, as the piano still plays on. In time the keyboard work stops, and we are just left with the distant and faint blend of bashing drums, barked guttural vocals, and loose baying BM guitar. As we move through the track, we hear subtly hints of unease ambient slide and drift, with the setback BM chaos still just there- the sonic levels of both layers are kept decidedly hazed and ill-defined. 

Moving through the first side we have the nine and a half minutes of  "Kάθαρσις I"- here we start with a hoovering 'n' wavering high pitch tone, and a man speaking ( in Swedish I presume) in a deliberate and constant manner. As we move on the voice stops, and you can make out a harmonically rising drone added to the pitch hover- this is joined by unnerving hitting tones, with latter a more haunting dark ambient loop added into the mix. With jabbering 'n' demented screams and moans appearing in the track's second half, along with a hallow-just there battering drum tone. 

Flipping the tape over we go from the warbling PE meets barely-there BM crudeness “Kάθαρσις II” which comes in at spot the two-minute mark. There is the soothing piano flourishers, meets crudely cable buzz 'n' bite of “ᛋᛁᚱ ᚼᚬᚾ ᚢᛒ ᚴᚬᛘᛅ ᚢᚦᚱᚢ ᛋᛁᚾᛁ ᛁᚢᚱᚦ ᚬᚱ ᛅᚴᛁ ᛁᚦᛁᛅᚴᚱᚬᚾᛅ”- later on, this seven and a half minute track adds in gruffly bayed, if at times (almost) oddly felt vocals…coming off like a singer-songwriter track from blacked & unwell universe. With the side playing out with the three minutes of “ᛍᛆᛚᚡᛂ ᚱᛂᚵᛁᚿᛆ” which brings together elegant and pretty piano work, with warbling and flighty male operatic vocals.

As you can imagine we get a fairly bit of weird, at times wonderful sonic fare flowing through M[m] gates- but I think it’s fair to say Πάθει μάθος is probably one of the bizarre/ WTH releases I’ve heard in some time. If you enjoy your soothing, light and elegant blended with your brutal, crude and dark in an unbalancing/ at times puzzling manner- this is something you’ll be wanting to dive into, but don’t hang around too long- as the label only has a few copies left!.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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