Den Sorte Død - Undergangen [Cyclic Law - 0000]
The Black Death was the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, over a five-year period it killed worldwide between twenty-five and fifty million people. Den Sorte Død are a Swedish duo bringing together Offermose and ANGST- their name is danish for The Black Death. Sound-wise we find synth-based dark ambient/ritual music with a cold, monochromatic feel, which is topped with a surprisingly progressive edge. Undergangen is their second album with four in total. It was originally self-released in 2019- here it's reissued by Cyclic Law.
Their music is somewhat simplistic, yet at the same time complex too. There is a certain heaviness and a punch evident within the rhythmic parts and it is combined with a haunting and lyrical vail, obscuring beautifully their sonic landscape. Classic dark ambient structure and composition, neo-classical in nature, organic but infused with progressive elements resembling the synth-based work of Vangelis or Klaus Schulze (!), something that provides a spike of experimentalism, and is beautifully implemented.
With Undergangen they merged two different sound disciplines in quite a meaningful and distinctive manner. With aliens in its themes and a cosmic touch that works wonders. They combined two realms- the forest- dark ambient with a martial touch, and the air-the floating sonic ambience of the 70’s progressive electronica. The dark elements reminded me of Aghast, the Norwegian dark ambient duo of Andrea Haugen and Tania Stene (1995) and Mortiis, with maybe a slight sonic stench of Cold Meat Industry. Their sound is both epic and fragile, bipolar and mesmerizing, romantic and raw.
With Undergangen Den Sorte Død venture down a known and beloved sonic path with some interesting twists along the way - bringing their own aspect into the dark sonic universe. Atmospheric, uplifting yet devouring all light in the process. Karl Grümpe