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Ofdrykkja - After The Storm review




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Reviewer:
8.0

21 users:
7.24
Band: Ofdrykkja
Album: After The Storm
Release date: November 2022


01. The Light
02. Hårgalåten
03. The Mære
04. After The Storm
05. The Cleansing
06. Själavandring
07. Beyond The Belt Of Orion


Add Ofdrykkja to the list of metal bands having opted to cut out their metal elements in favour of pure neofolk. Their depressive suicidal black metal origins are here audible mostly through the introspective, melancholic mood permeating these mostly acoustic Swedish folk-inspired songs. A good soundtrack to dark, snowy winter walks.

Ofdrykkja is an archaic spelling of an already archaic Swedish word, avdricka, meaning something like “to vigorously drink to the last drop”, and while fourth album After The Storm is not the band’s first foray into neofolk territories, it is the most wholehearted one yet. Having started out as a DSBM act, Ofdrykkja made a point of how they were all at rock bottom in their lives; days replete with alcohol and drugs and self-harm. Already on “The Light”, there appears to be some, well, light, shining through, suggesting maybe the outlook is not quite as bad these days. It is an introductory, slow-building piece, half of it just acoustic strumming before Miranda’s layered vocals chime in to chant “Light will shine on you / Be true” over soft strings and male backing choirs. “The Light” does a good job of introducing the various elements Ofdrykkja will go on to use throughout the album, and is a pretty if somewhat nondescript piece of music.

Following this intro song is a cover of the Swedish folk tune “Hårgalåten” in a very true-to-its-roots neofolk adaptation (meaning it is quite unlike the version In Flames popularised way back on their debut album). The song is driven by a moody key harp and frail female vocals over acoustic strumming and shamanistic toms, telling the tale of how the Devil disguised himself as a violinist to lure the youth of the Hårga people into doing his bidding. The orchestral arrangements sound very authentic, like proper folk music, and the Swedish lyrics top the Nordic vibes off very well. This kind of music goes straight into my bones and I start imagining how people sat where I am sitting now hundreds of years ago playing and singing tunes like this one around a campfire.

On the following tracks, it becomes apparent to me that the basic idea of this album is not really to play neofolk, but to create a sparse, sombre mood for reflection with a Spartan use of acoustic guitar somewhat similar to Agalloch’s many instrumentals on The Mantle, and then infuse this soundscape with dreamy, layered vocal arrangements more or less repeating variations of a mantra. “The Maere” uses spoken-word to tell a story about sleep paralysis (or at least insomnia), and the title track builds further on the vocals introduced in the intro song, turning them into a harmony halfway between catchy and simply pleasant to listen to. There is a hypnotic, meditative quality to it all that never breaks up, even as quietly distorted guitar chords are added to the mix in “The Cleansing”. It really works in Ofdrykkja’s favour that the songs are all on the shorter side of the spectrum, and that the album is only 30 minutes long, because while this is all a very pleasant and emotional listen, the slow pace and introspective mood throughout threaten to make the music drag at parts.

That threat is never truly fulfilled, however, thanks to aforementioned reasons. As if ordained, the instrumental (well, there are vocals, but no lyrics) “Själavandring” (Soul Wandering) ups the tempo and emerges as one of the most memorable pieces on After The Storm. It uses an acoustic guitar motif and lyricless singing which is supplemented by energetic, mid-paced drumming and, later on, staccato strings, just repeating the same passage over and over until it is burned into your brain. The closing song is a bit too long for its own good, with 8 minutes of mostly repeating a single guitar hook over spoken-word reading a poignant letter to a friend about life, death, and what to do in between:

“Know that you are a soul living the human experience. Trust your intuition. With practice, it becomes a compass to guide you through life. If you feel anxious, it means that you're doing something wrong. Silence your mind and feel. Observe your thoughts and change what you can. You know, I had to change a lot. Everything in my life was wrong, and man, did I suffer for it. Eventually I experienced that it is not the incidents or our emotions that create our suffering, it's our reactions towards them that does.”

Good advice for just about anybody, yeah? After The Storm is moody, emotive and a thoroughly pleasant listen. There is no metal here to find, nor should you expect any. At times, the sombre mood and low pace make the music drag for a bit too long, but this is mostly remedied by a short running length and songs that, while building upon much the same elements, are clearly distinguishable from each other in the way they arrange vocals, orchestra, and folk instruments. Highly recommended for them solitary winter walks in darkness.


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





Written on 26.11.2022 by 100% objective opinions. Integer ratings only. 7.0 means it's a good album.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 98 users
26.11.2022 - 18:32
no one

I think I read Hårgalåten was asked to be covered by a band member before he passed away. Also was Georg Börner from coldworld on the cleansing? Can't have been that noticeable.
Anyway good review and I hope your right, I've already ordered the vinyl without having heard the whole thing 😆 only because they always only make few vinyls and I missed out on the last album.
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27.11.2022 - 09:11
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
This album sounds ideal for these dark, cold wintery days, I might have to give it a listen. Thanks for this review
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27.11.2022 - 12:09
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Good to read
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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27.11.2022 - 14:52
prnzokoshiroltra

This album did a better job of easing my pain last night than even the oxycodone/ibuprofen combo meds the hospital just gave me 2 days ago! they should prescribe Ofdrykkja 60mg instead of opiates!

Patient: "why are you handing me a flash drive? where are my prescription bottles?"

Nurse: "sir, the music files on here should be all you need... track 1 is the strongest pain pills we have"

Patient: "but I have a concussi..."

Nurse: "THEY'RE IN FLAC, SIR!!!"

last 3 records spun
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Sobs - Air Guitar
Neptunian Maximalism - Finis Gloriae Mundi
Jeff Hughell - Orbital Existence
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No one can fend off 100 multi-colored Draculas
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28.11.2022 - 05:57
no one

Finally got around to listening to it and I like it on a first listen, kinda Vali with vocals. Waaay too short though.
I long the words of wisdom on the last song.
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28.11.2022 - 17:30
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by no one on 26.11.2022 at 18:32

I think I read Hårgalåten was asked to be covered by a band member before he passed away. Also was Georg Börner from coldworld on the cleansing? Can't have been that noticeable.
Anyway good review and I hope your right, I've already ordered the vinyl without having heard the whole thing 😆 only because they always only make few vinyls and I missed out on the last album.

Finally got around to listening to it and I like it on a first listen, kinda Vali with vocals. Waaay too short though.
I long the words of wisdom on the last song.

The promo info says "This album is dedicated to the memory of Stefan 'Bödeln' Wahlberg" so that might be correct, yeah. It also credits Georg Börner with key harp and viola, and streaming services say "featuring ColdWorld" on Hårgalåten and The Cleansing, so I'd assume those two tracks are where he's featured!


I think the short length works in its favour, actually. I sort of zone out halfway through the final track anyway.

Written by prnzokoshiroltra on 27.11.2022 at 14:52

This album did a better job of easing my pain last night than even the oxycodone/ibuprofen combo meds the hospital just gave me 2 days ago! they should prescribe Ofdrykkja 60mg instead of opiates!

Very soothing music indeed, hard to believe it's the same band as on their debut album.
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"I swore I would scratch and crawl my way back into the world of the living, and I have DONE IT!"
- Sarevok Anchev
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28.11.2022 - 17:49
no one

Written by Netzach on 28.11.2022 at 17:30


The promo info says "This album is dedicated to the memory of Stefan 'Bödeln' Wahlberg" so that might be correct, yeah. It also credits Georg Börner with key harp and viola, and streaming services say "featuring ColdWorld" on Hårgalåten and The Cleansing, so I'd assume those two tracks are where he's featured!

Written by prnzokoshiroltra on 27.11.2022 at 14:52

Yeah, was kind of hoping it was going to be his vocals.
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