Dødsferd / The best dark ambient-based offering for some time

Raw Black Metal project Dødsferd was formed in Athens, Greece, back in 2001 by the then teenage Wrath (Nikolaos Spanakis) as a one-man endeavour, assisted by session musicians in the studio and live. They have, over the last couple of decades or so, created eleven full-lengths and countless splits, EP’s live releases and compilations.

Asphyxiating Late Night Sessions: Dødsferd (FYC Records)

A collaboration with Sarvok

Release Date: Out Now (Digital) – CD due Mid-2023

Words: Jools Green

In 2018 Wrath returned permanently to his homeland Crete, continuing his creative endeavours and founded FYC Records a year later, named after the first Dødsferd full studio release from 2006. So if you know that album, you will know the full name of the label…

Dødsferd  - Asphyxiating Late Night Sessions

Now, Wrath is back with his latest offering, Asphyxiating Late Night Sessions: Collaboration with Sarvok which, as the title suggests, is a collaboration with the mysterious M. Sarvok. Sarvok also collaborated with Wrath on Suicide And The Rest Of Your Kind Will Follow pt. II in 2021 and G.N.L.S. 2023. But more about the latter of those two albums in a separate review to follow.

Asphyxiating Late Night Sessions is a five-track, thirty-six-minute offering grounded in the philosophy of Nihilism, misanthropy, anti-religion, total chaos, death and destruction. “At the end of 2022,” Wrath says, “on our late-night meetings with M. Sarvok, jamming, drinking the fruits of hell and having our long discussions, I created some new songs, which he had the freedom to add whatever he felt they needed. Two of my poems were included in the two new songs, along with the lyrics.

“This unique album also consists of three older songs of mine that had been included in the albums A Breed Of Parasites and Suicide…Part II and were modified by M. Sarvok. In the beginning of 2023, the album was ready! A very unique album under the name of Dødsferd. An acoustic, experimental, dark ambient album that will be released earlier than my long-awaited new album, which returns back to the roots of the first days of the band! The title of this special album is, Asphyxiating Late Night Sessions: Collaboration with Sarvok.”

Asphyxiating Late Night Sessions is also a very different listen. As Wrath says above, it is acoustic, experimental and dark ambient, also lyrically, it has that unnerving, uncomfortable Black Metal quality that I love. The lyrics, emphasised by the superbly varied and often unnerving delivery, ooze all manner of dark emotions, in particular, anger, grief and disdain.

Tο βάρος να νιώθεις ζωντανός (The Burden Of Feeling Alive), a version of which originally featured on 2013’s A Breed Of Parasites, makes a perfect opener. Emerging out of the haunting mists of eeriness, it is a very rhythmic engaging instrumental piece that still manages to unnerve, then fades back into the eerie mists again.

…και το είδος σας θα ακολουθήσει (…And Your Kind Will Follow) is also one of the previously mentioned older tracks by Wrath, a shorter reworking, down to nine and a half minutes, of the eighteen-minute Suicide and the Rest Of Your Kind Will Follow: The Red Lake Of Your Innocence, from Suicide…Part II. This was, in the finest traditions and expectations of raw Black Metal, an impressively harrowing listen, especially the first track, on which this piece is based. I love the vocal layering on this track and the tortuous screamed content over a spoken element set to a simple, haunting musical backdrop of drum beats, violin and piano by M. Sarvok.

Πολέμιος της κοινωνικής σας Σήψης (Against Your Social Decay), a poetic piece written by Wrath and put to music by M. Sarvok, merges acoustic guitar and violin with Greek spoken word, and a haunting undercurrent of keyboards. A reflective, haunting and dark listen.

Εγκατάληψη (Deserted) merges pulsating rhythms, a tribal drum and voices, along with all manner of eerie, mysterious sounds that weave through the haunting melody. It’s ambient and unnerving in equal measures.

On the final piece Μοναξιά (Solitude), you get a subtle meld of acoustic guitar with clean vocals with eerie overtones and echoes. Even this seemingly laidback piece hides unnerving disquiet, which comes to the fore with the emotionally delivered spoken part, which is beautifully bolstered with haunting violin work. It’s understatedly brilliant.

The whole release has a superbly unnerving and moving quality, an excellent album and the best dark ambient-based offering to cross my paths in a very long while.

For more details, visit https://fycrecords.bandcamp.com/album/asphyxiating-late-night-sessions-collaboration-with-sarvok.

Sleeve Notes

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