23 April 2014
It seems that time cannot dim the passion and creativity of Nicklas Rudolfsson. More than 20 years after forming the death-doom band Runemagick, the Swedish guitarist/vocalist’s love of mournful melody remains as strong as ever, as does his ability to deliver a hair-raising cacophony.
As its less-than-inspiring title suggests, this is the fourth demo released by Heavydeath so far, all of them this year. The first has already been released and re-released on cassette by the valiantly awesome Caligari Records, with the next instalments following soon.
Rudolfsson’s new band features many trademarks of his former outfit, but is slightly more epic and less deathly than Runemagick, and less dramatically occultish than another of the bands for which he is known – The Funeral Orchestra. Heavydeath’s timeless brand of misery harks back to the early era of death-doom, without ever treading on anyone’s historical toes. There are also echoes of Celtic Frost, Candlemass, Cathedral, Entombed, Bolt Thrower, all blended together in sludgy disharmony.
Slow, patient songs crackle with the energy of anticipation, and you are never quite sure what’s around the next corner. Often, it’s a rhinoceros-sized riff that will trample your face into the mud. On other occasions, the ghostly, echoing, chanted vocals will lure you into a false sense of security and then stab you in the neck. Rudolfsson wields his axe with the cruel elation of the eternally doomed, while the bass of Johann Backman (also ex-Runemagick) is the sound of the Grim Reaper’s digestive system. Even the nameless session drummer gives his kit a muscular pounding, as if he’s beating the life out of a humpback whale.
This demo, and the three others that Heavydeath have put out in recent weeks, show the band’s inventiveness in full flow. It takes a few listens to really get a feel for each individual song – they tend to blur together a little at first – but once you find the band’s rhythm, each track is rewarding in its own way. This is death-doom with real personality, crafted by two experienced guys who know how to make you feel good about feeling bad. Keep your eyes open for more from this Swedish duo, who seem determined to make 2014 their year.