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Vanhävd - Vila review




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Reviewer:
8.5

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Band: Vanhävd
Album: Vila
Release date: March 2022


01. Låt Köttet Dö
02. Likvaka
03. Om Den Vulgära Farsens Nonsens
04. Tomhet
05. Förkunnaren
06. Drömmaren
07. Hatet Mellan Elementarpartiklarna
08. Maskhål


Swedish blackened doom about Sisyphus and antinatalism. Yeah, this review is gonna get dark, innit?

Let me tell you about my greatest fear. It is not a fear of death, nor a fear of life, of loneliness, of anxiety, of pain; no, it's the creeping sensation I have had for a while now that all of this is just a reprise. All of our fears, joys, sorrows, pains, successes and failures might very well be just… déjà-vu. What if everything we all experience right now is just a decades-long déjà-vu? What if Sir Roger Penrose is entirely correct about his theory on conformal cyclical cosmology? What if Friedrich Nietzsche and the Hindu was and are correct about their ideas on the eternal return? What if I've written this piece an infinite number of times before, you've all read it an infinite number of times before, and I will write and you will read it an infinite number of times again, along with everything else in our lives?

My greatest fear is not something that exists in this world, but something that exists apart from, beyond, and between this world and the previous and the next. My greatest fear is that Sisyphus' work is not an allegory but more or less a literal description of our constant fight against time. What, then, is the point of anything? We have all lived our lives before, made all our mistakes before, and will likewise do so again and again, until the end of the end of times, if such a thing even exists.

"Botten av kosmos / Från ditt första andetag / Dömd på förhand / Till existens" (The bottom of cosmos / From your first breath / Sentenced in advance / Unto existence) - such are the bone-chilling concepts used in this magnificent debut album by Swedish blackened doom band Vanhävd (an archaic word meaning something like a mix of "malpractice", "mismanagement", and "futility"). It is a wonderfully atmospheric, heavy, melancholic, but first and foremost terrifically terrifying collection of songs; most of them more or less perfect.

"Gör det igen / Och igen och igen / Igen och igen och igen och igen" (Do it again / And again and again / Again and again and again and again) - such might be the lives we lead. All your mistakes, your regrets, everybody your hurt, made happy only to die for and make sad, everyone who ever manipulated or murdered or molested another, will do it again and again. It is not such a farfetched idea as you might think. The mathematics check out. The infinite future of the universe is indifferentiable from the genesis singularity; the heat death is identical to the Big Bang, the beginning is the end, and Groundhog Day is real.

Feeling any of that existential dread yet? Good. Then you're in the mood for enjoying Vila (Slumber) to its fullest, just as you have so many times before and will so many times again. The album starts out sort of nondescript, with "Låt Köttet Dö" (Let The Flesh Die) being pretty standard fare black/doom. However, after the beautiful guitar hooks in "Likvaka" (Corpse Wake), a tingling music-box melody introduces "Om Den Vulgära Farsens Nonsens" (About The Nonsense Of The Profane Farce) which contains the chilly lyrics I mentioned above, and (ab)uses a sort of offbeat doom riff that is both catchy deeply unsettling at once. It is one of my favourite metal songs of this year, even as I both get the creeps and the cries when listening. I love it and loathe it equally, and that means it's a great fucking piece of art, dear readers.

Vila proceeds through "Tomhet" (Emptiness), "Förkunnaren" (The Proclaimer), and "Drömmaren" (The Dreamer), pretty effortlessly, introducing a more and more heavy focus on spacey synthesisers; particularly an ethereal e-piano that really brings the more post-rocky and ambient moments to the next level. The ambient influences come to a head in "Hatet Mellan Elementarpartiklarna" (The Hate Between The Elementary Particles) which obviously is a totally badass title, but sadly ends up being the most throwaway song on Vila.

However, Vanhävd make up for all this with the absolute cosmic beast that is the closing song “Maskhål" (Wormhole). With lyrics about letting the darkness engulf you, the mass pull you in, they sort of touch this thin line between philosophy, physics, and, well, true fucking metal, that I'm really looking for when listening to music with a more cerebral bent to it. An ambient synth passage personifies the descent into the black hole, and the song starts again as if to imply you're just going to come out on the other side, starting it all over again...

If you are looking for something even more frightening than the done-to-death nihilism, look no further than antinatalism, and if you've been listening to too much The Ruins Of Beverast, do give Vanhävd a listen. It is a damn impressive debut album, and one you will not forget.

I mean, you're more likely to just remember it from our previous aeon. I'll see you in another infinite number of years. Have a good eternity, everybody. I'll see you again real soon...

Big thanks to Nejde for recommending this album to me!


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9





Written on 10.04.2022 by 100% objective opinions.


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 189 users
10.04.2022 - 23:06
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Feels like you've written this before
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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11.04.2022 - 03:16
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Written by RaduP on 10.04.2022 at 23:06

Feels like you've written this before

It does feel like Déjà Vu
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11.04.2022 - 15:34
Rating: 9
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by RaduP on 10.04.2022 at 23:06

Feels like you've written this before

That's because I have
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11.04.2022 - 15:40
Rating: 9
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by Dream Taster on 11.04.2022 at 03:16

It does feel like Déjà Vu

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11.04.2022 - 23:03
Batlord666

Very excited to see this review pop up! I found this band's EP a few years ago, I absolutely loved it. I had no idea they had an album coming out.
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12.04.2022 - 02:39
Rating: 9
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by Batlord666 on 11.04.2022 at 23:03

Very excited to see this review pop up! I found this band's EP a few years ago, I absolutely loved it. I had no idea they had an album coming out.

Loved this album. Super excited to see what next
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12.04.2022 - 19:48
Rating: 9
Nejde
Philosoraptor
My favourite review of 2022 so far and my second favourite album after Allegaeon's Damnum. As Swedes we got an advantage because we understand the lyrics but it doesn't take anything away from the album since it's almost flawless either way. Now we just need som more votes to put this (anti) baby in the Top 20
----
"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
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12.04.2022 - 22:48
Rating: 9
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by Nejde on 12.04.2022 at 19:48

My favourite review of 2022 so far and my second favourite album after Alllegaeon's Damnum. As Swedes we got an advantage because we understand the lyrics but it doesn't take anything away from the album since it's almost flawless either way. Now we just need som more votes to put this (anti) baby in the Top 20

I added a shout-out to you for recommending the album to me! I wrote the review at a pub and forgot The lyrics really add to the music here, there's such a creepy vibe to them, it's quite unforgettable. I hope this band gets lots of recognition!
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12.04.2022 - 23:21
nikarg
Mod
Written by Nejde on 12.04.2022 at 19:48

My favourite review of 2022 so far

Mine too. I mean, I enjoy all reviews here and each reviewer has their own style that I do appreciate a lot, but Netzach writes short novels that speak to me on another level. Oftentimes, I find an album to be far inferior to his review. Not this time though; this album deserves this review.

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13.04.2022 - 06:17
Rating: 9
Nejde
Philosoraptor
Written by Netzach on 12.04.2022 at 22:48

I added a shout-out to you for recommending the album to me! I wrote the review at a pub and forgot The lyrics really add to the music here, there's such a creepy vibe to them, it's quite unforgettable. I hope this band gets lots of recognition!


Cheers! Let's keep spreading great music to the masses
----
"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
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26.04.2022 - 17:18
Rating: 9
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by nikarg on 12.04.2022 at 23:21

Mine too. I mean, I enjoy all reviews here and each reviewer has their own style that I do appreciate a lot, but Netzach writes short novels that speak to me on another level. Oftentimes, I find an album to be far inferior to his review. Not this time though; this album deserves this review.



Ah, it's all downhill from here then That's very sweet though, thank you! Like the sample on Mogwai's debut opener song says: "Music is bigger than words and wider than pictures," I'm glad my approximations can make sense to others
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