Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Country: Sweden
Label: Black Lodge Records
Year: 2019

Wormwood struck effectively with their notable debut “Ghostlands: Wounds from a Bleeding Earth” in 2017, which was a logical continuation of their first EP from 2015 and put the band on the map of newcomer Scandinavian bands. And while I can’t think of anything else than Marduk’s iconic record from 2009 when looking at this name, this Wormwood doesn’t play furious and relentless black metal like the Norrköping legends. Instead, their blend of melodic black metal includes a lot of viking metal elements as well, and dances between all kinds of different musical structures, with the melody and the riff being the most vital part of the compositions.

I remember having enjoyed their previous releases to some extent, and this was the case with “Nattarvet” (=legacy of the night), which offers what a listener familiar with Wormwood would expect to hear, along with a surprise or two throughout the record. The band’s sound is epic and heavily melodic, within the vicinity of acts like Thyrfing or Månegarm, Skogen and very slightly, even towards Moonsorrow. Erik Grawsiö from Månegarm also contributes with guest vocals, giving away even more what kind of bands go hand in hand with Wormwood, who show signs of evolution from their first album.

“Nattarvet” contains tracks in English and in Swedish as they have done before, with the vocals being understandable for the most part in both languages. The variety includes of course shrieks, but also yells and clean vocals in various parts of the songs, most clearly towards the end of “I bottenlös ävja”, which has truly great singing and musical ideas. “Arctic Light” also features parts with vocals that go deeper towards death metal growls along its packed meloblack guitarlines. With “Nattarvet”, Wormwood step a bit further from what makes a black metal album, as the vibe is directed more to viking metal, with a use of progressive characteristics and clean parts that don’t fall under metal aesthetics at all.

In the tracks “I bottenlös ävja”, or “The Achromatic Road”, or “Sunnas hädanfärd”, the cleaner parts can be related to post-rock, and that’s where the compositions get more unconventional and sincerely, very exciting. Most notably, in the final and longest track “The Isolationist”, the atmospheric guitars in the middle part would even bring Pink Floyd in mind to an unsuspected listener, and such parts exist in other tracks too, very smartly put and very well written as well. If there is something to remember from Wormwood, it’s how they combine these different worlds in their music, and that’s what makes their sound, their own as well.

The most aggressive moments of “Nattarvet” are in the penultimate track “Tvehunger”, which could be described as having some more traditional Scandinavian black metal lines at times. The band’s atmosphere is all over the place, without getting too cheesy of their subject, and above all, they succeed by having satisfying music. As a whole, it is another successful installment to the band’s now growing discography, it’s quite promising and should expose Wormwood into the scene of this kind of melodic black / viking metal.

4/6