Genre: Heavy Metal/Black Metal
Country: Denmark
Label: Van Records
Year: 2017

One of the most famous stories of Leon Tolstoy is entitled “How much land does a man require?” The story is about a farmer, Pakhom, who even though was wealthy, didn’t stop asking for even more. One day he met by accident another farmer and a merchant and this meeting was about to change his life. From them Pahom heard about fields that he could buy from Bashkirs nomads for 1000 rubles a day. The only thing he needed to do is to travel to their country and from there the land he could walk in the next 24 hours would be his, but with one condition, to return at his starting point the same day. If he didn’t make it there, he would lose his money. Greediness blurred Pahom’s mind that despite the dream – a bad omen he saw the night before he begins his course – would not stop in attempting to gain even more land. Of course the story finishes with our hero exhausted from endless walking and paying a price much higher than just 1000 rubles, his own life. Without being able to understand that the only land that belongs to us is the six feet under that we need to be buried when our short appearance on earth is over…

This famous and very instructive novel comes often in my mind, every time that I think of my friends and people that I know that are striving, fighting and panicking for a more complete and rich vinyl collection. A story that allegorically instead of the land that the hero of the Russian writer wanted to add in his property and which eventually claimed his life, we could think of records, rare or not, that all of us music lovers are trying to possess like Pakhom, forgetting the real essence of a record collection. And mostly spending something more important than the album prices that very often tend to be outrageous. Spending above all time that seems to be the absolute luxury in our age. How much time do we really have for our favourite hobby? How much time do we invest in our favourite groups or even worse in a new release? In conditions of absolute conformity to the consuming models like voracious machines of accumulating musical archives in whatever format, digital or not, we turned our record collections in soulless trophy exhibitions that just expand with new material every now and then…

I understand that this intro might have been tiring although I don’t consider as ill-matched and not connected with Danish Slaegt. I don’t even consider it as an intro, but as a chance to talk about a few things. Because I can’t stand seeing mediocre releases like “Plan Of Attack” by Chicago’s Paradoxx being sold for 4.000 dollars and a record like “Domus Mysterium” being unnoticed. As much as its 80’s feeling is appealing, Plan of Attak’s 4 compositions are plain mediocrity, not to say good at best. Moreover this fetishism looks even more appalling for the metalheads that belong to the middle class and lower than that. When did the collection of music and even more the collection of extreme music became a sport for rich kids and their daddies?

In a cover of high aesthetic value with ‘the eye of the devil’ looking upon us as a symbol in the outside and smartly clad with beautiful drawings in the inside, the album astonishes you as soon as you touch it in your hands. Yes, these well cared albums are the ones that are worth of having in vinyl (blame Van Records…). In the same way the maturity of Slaegt’s mastermind, Oskar J. Frederiksen is astonishing, he turned within a few years his personal band – essentially a one-man project – in a complete band with 4 equal members that have distinct roles in it. Their classic metal influences were well hidden in their latest release “The Beautiful and Damned” EP the gothic cover of which confused many, but slowly and carefully these touches of traditional sound were multiplied in this year’s album in a very normal fashion. So, from the straight and aggressive “Ildsvanger” debut we arrive at “Domus Mysterius” were the mixture of melody and aggression is something more than ideal. The Dissection elements don’t leave much space to estimate the Danes’ intentions. They composed with mastery a musically perfect record in which you can listen to catchy melodies, guitar parts from NWOBHM wet dreams that only Angel Witch can provide and a dark atmosphere of frozen riffs with a Scandinavian trademark. Add to that a huge dose of early Dark Tranquility and you have a clear picture of the album. A steady rhythm section that helps the first violin … the guitars that are in the forefront throughout the whole duration of the album. The compositions, even though are lengthy (all of them more than 5 minutes) they don’t get tiring with their consecutive changes and imaginative solos. “The Tower”, “Eye Of The Devil” and one of the best songs of the year, “I Smell Blood” stand out, as also the 13+minute epic title track. A must have!

5/6