Year of release: 2019
Released by: Profound Lore Records
Rating: 8,1 / 10
The essence of THE DEATHTRIP is striking. This is a project that simply had to fail initially... but it didn't and reached a level that arouses only respect. This is hard to believe. Take at least the project leader: Paul Groundwell - general manager of Peaceville Records, whose previoius musical efforts can be heard in the bass lines of melancholic rock/metal band THINE. That is, he seems to be like an ordinary businessman uncle playing music for fun at Saturdays. Until this year, the vocalist of THE DEATHTRIP was the famous Aldrahn, but the original singer Kvohst returned prior the recording of the album. Both are ex-members of DØDHEIMSGARD, Aldrahn also plays in THORNS. The drums and bass were played by the session staff: Dan Mullins from THINE (ex-MY DYING BRIDE) and Thomas Eriksen from MORK, the overly popular Norwegian wannabe-Black Metal band. The above-mentioed people are Peaceville signatories playing in their own bands, and by all means THE DEATHTRIP was supposed to be a completely optional entertainment project.
However, already on the demo records, THE DEATHTRIP tore almost all of the fashionable Norwegian “Black” Metal scene to shreds. Why Norwegian, not British? Because THE DEATHTRIP is by far the only band I know of (besides MAYHEM with their new album), which perfectly reproduces the sound side of golden era of the Norwegian Black Metal. I can’t evaluate the ideological part, since the texts are very British, i.e. incomprehensible, but it seems they are about occultism. At the same time, THE DEATHTRIP has its own ambitions, going even further. Probably, if MAYHEM or SATYRICON did not decide at some point to change the paradigm of creativity, today they would make such material: deeply rooted in the early 90s, but advanced, to some extent even avant-garde.
The main part of the project’s music is a hodgepodge of recognizable elements of the whole cult Norwegian classic. First of all, these are the ornate riffs a la THORNS, and then diabolical tremolos of MAYHEM, frozen landscapes of DARKTHRONE, voluminous outpourings of DØDHEIMSGARD, poison of SATYRICON and even a slightly hypnotic monotony of BURZUM. The sound is categorically old-fashioned, so the recognition effect is all-consuming. The fact that the album was made in modern days is evidenced only by the interaction of elements that is too free for the strict 90s, and the high skill of performance. Vocals take on a lot. Sometimes it seems even too much. Aldrahn sang in a more traditional way, but even the extreme voice of Kvohst sounds very peculiar. Also there's lot of clean vocals and even chorus parts. Definitely, you need to get used to this voice, and not everyone will succeed. On the other hand, the usual croaking would be too primitive for such music. Aggression plays a secondary role here. Evil spirituality and a cold atmosphere draw the attention of the listener to something more complex, standing a step away from the line behind which the usual senses are powerless.
On this my stream of thoughts abruptly breaks. There is something hidden about "Demon Solar Totem" that repels me. Perhaps a ghostly aura enveloping the album, but in this case it is a good thing. I have not figured it out yet. Meanwhile, the album comes out on CD and vinyl in 3 days - fly on.