Deimos Sanktuarium is the 5th release from the Swedish death metal band. Before you make any assumptions just know that Vanhelgd are NOT a “true” Swedish death metal band like Entombed or At The Gates. Instead of being another copy of these popular melodic death metal bands Vanhelgd over their rather impressive discography have evolved into a different form. A terrifying blend of doom, death metal, with pinches of black metal sprinkled throughout. The result is a slow, constricting, and pummeling sound that will continue to suffocate you until the album finally comes to a close.
Label: Dark Descent
“A Plea for Divine Necromancy” is a slow and melodic journey into the demonic abyss. There are hints of black metal tremolo picking within the wall of buzz saw guitar tones. A strange yet hypnotic drum rhythm binds the song together, an ode to listeners of Vanhelgd’s now signature sound.
Moving onward things begin to change starting with “Sa Forgas Varldens Harlighet”. The beginning of this song has such a strong Bolt Thrower influence but picks up speed and by the end takes a demigod Behemoth era sound. This change is refreshing for the band, and shows their ability to take their sound to a new level of heavy.
My favorite track on this album is “The Ashes of Our Defeat. Anybody who knows me knows I am an absolute sucker for death doom. My philosophy is the more doom, the better. This song is slow, punishing, melodic, causing pure claustrophobia. Take a journey with me to the end of a massive battle (my dungeon master dialog is about to present itself). A knight desperately tries to fend for his life. His comrades burning by his side. He falls to his knees and tries to scream in agony for his loss, but cannot fill is lungs with enough air to scream. He grips the ashes of his slain compatriot, staring at the bloody armor littering the battlefield. He realizes he is one of the only ones left, and frantically retreats. Turning his head peering through the miasma of fire and flesh an arcane beast spots him and begins its pursuit. The knight comes to a cliff edge, overlooking a vast sea, littered with bodies and foaming with blood. He is trapped. The beast approaches and leaps. The knight feels an incredible shock of pain, followed by pure darkness. This song is crushing, and punishing a great example of why death doom is such an incredible subgenre.
I have to also acknowledge “Vi Foddes I Samma Grav”. Mathias Westman’s drumming on this track is absolutely superb. I couldn’t help but go back to the halfway point in the song just to hear him playing an incredible rhythmic cymbal section followed by a repeated hammering on his kit. I couldn’t be more impressed with this song, and would love to see him assault his set live to this song.
Finally, I have to talk about the occult and haunting artwork of front man Mattias Frisk. He came through again with a powerful piece of cover art that adequately fits the atmosphere of the album. The album like the album invokes claustrophobia. A victim screaming, loosing their essence being surrounded by the embodiment of evil is the perfect representation for this band.
I have to thank Dark Descent for again putting out another amazing release. I was highly anticipating this album, and to be able to review it was such an honor. Now go listen!