Dødsferd / Wrath, A Powerful New Chapter in Greek Black Metal

Formed in 2001 and one of Greece’s longest-running Black Metal bands, Dødsferd return with their latest musical onslaught, Wrath. Their twelfth studio full-length, this stands alongside a myriad of other EPs, splits, and demos.

Dødsferd – Wrath (Hypnotic Dirge Records/FYC Records)

Release Date: 10 May 2024

Words: Jools Green

Named after the band’s founder, thematically, Wrath “carries in its wake a vigorous indictment of the social and economic consequences of capitalism, political corruption, ecocide, and the largest argument against our civility, warfare.” 

It’s also a crushingly good chunk of Black Metal.

Dødsferd – who release Wrath
Dødsferd – Wrath, a crushingly good chunk of Black Metal.

For this release, Wrath is joined by N.D. of Greek Black Metal band Sørgelig as guest drummer, who also played on Suicide and the Rest of Your Kind Will Follow Pt II and the Skotos EP, as well as a couple of tracks on other Dødsferd albums. 

Dødsferd are joined by Neptunus, covering bass, who has also played on a large number of Dødsferd releases between 2011 and 2018.

Soundwise, Wrath has a Nordic feel. It is predominantly up-tempo throughout and hits a perfect combination for me, delivering an extreme raw sound but with a powerful emotive aspect. N.D.’s drumming is superb, fast, concise, and generously uses cymbal work, which always adds a lot of extra impact. 

There is also an excellent clarity of content to Wrath’s vocals despite the raw harshness of the delivery, all the more important given the brutal yet poetic content of these lyrics. 

Dramatically opening on a sound-bite of screams, the Restoration Of Justice is an engagingly varied piece throughout, winding a complex path, switching seamlessly between riff patterns. With acidic vocals coursing over, when it drops in pace, it builds back with more intensity. A statement opening piece that not only holds your attention but makes you want to hear more. 

Decay Of Sanity initially takes a darker turn than the predecessor. It’s an intense driver but with a pace that undulates in waves of tremolo picking echoed by the drum work, lifting and intensifying as it progresses. I love the lighter repeating reflective guitar passage midway through; it adds an emotive edge, contrasting against the raw vocals that cut through venomously, the cymbal work making a big impact here, too. 

The second longest piece at ten minutes duration, although there’s nothing on this album under five minutes, Raging Lust Of Creation, opens on rapid drum beats joined by undulating driving riffs. Then, the vocals, which have superb protraction, add to the dark, cavernous feel of the piece, with some of the guitar repeats also having a dark groove.

Two and a half minutes in, the mood and pace alter dramatically and suddenly become very intense. The vocals, now more raw and scathing, are alongside bursts of melodic repeats. The pace then drops somewhat in the second half. There are some slightly cleaner shouts alongside the raw screams as it drives towards the close, gradually fading into the distance but still remaining powerfully dramatic and gripping.

The lengthy duration of this piece has been well filled, the journey twisting and turning, the pace dropping and building to make sure the listeners attention is held across its entirety.  

Regarding the next piece, Spiritual Lethargy, Wrath says that “without any attachment to material goods, to the handcuffs that keep you captive from the worthless mortals chosen by mindless people to rule, then you will breathe fresh air and resist the slavery that has been set up for you. 

“There are no laws that respect human existence anymore, except those that create more privilege and wealth for the few, the leeches of the modern age, raised to live at the expense of the weak. The fear of the unknown is less than that of failing to know yourself. 

“Learn to listen to the voices that command the immediate awakening of your soul from lethargy and inactivity, waiting for a magical power to free you from the rashness of the search.” 

A powerful message inspiring the lyrical inspiration. Musically, coursing the duration of the track is straightforward but superbly effective tremolo picking. This undulates and repeats hypnotically, ebbing and building in waves alongside superb highspeed precision of the drum work. This is all alongside the acidic vocals, which are delivered with punch and conviction. Together, a sublimely engaging combination.

Heaven Drops With Human Filth is utterly maniacal and brutal in pace from the offset. Twinned with the acidly scathing vocal delivery, a combination that sears the flesh from your face as you listen. There’s something hypnotically engaging in its undulating delivery that holds your attention completely.

Failure Ablaze In Your Existence continues in that grippingly engaging, full-throttle pace. Another piece where the drum work really stands out again, there are some really tasty riff patterns that pop up just before the mid-point. Again a brutally gripping piece. 

The final piece, Back to My Homeland… A Beast in Calm is a vinyl exclusive. Thirteen and a half minutes in duration and commanding a whole side of the second disc, it’s different from the rest of the album. A more ambient but eerie piece, with tortuous vocal screams and spoken elements, at times reflective, other times having a tormented edge, a very powerful track.

Dødsferd have been consistently good across their career, whether delivering their more ambient acoustic offerings or, like this release, a furious raw Black Metal onslaught.

You consistently get that high standard, and, as always, every detail has been paid to both the construction and delivery of the material. As a result, Wrath is a breathtakingly superb album.

Over twenty years of experience has been honed and worked into this release, creating, from my perspective, a Black Metal masterpiece.

If you love Black Metal, you will love this album.

“Wrath is at the crossroads of where Dødsferd came from,” the band says, “and where it is going. It will appeal to those who have been following Dødsferd over the years, as well as those new to it. Dødsferd is Wrath and Wrath is Dødsferd! Till the end of this corrupted and diseased world.”

Wrath will currently be available as a limited-edition Double vinyl (300 copies) in a choice of three colours or a limited-edition CD (500 copies). A limited Tape and Digi CD Box Set will be available by the end of the year exclusively through FYC Records.

Dødsferd – Wrath – Pre-orders are available from Hypnotic Dirge Records.

Sleeve Notes

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