Vanhelgd – Deimos Sanktuarium (Review)

VanhelgdThis is the fifth album from Vanhelgd, a death metal band from Sweden.

Both 2014’s Relics of Sulphur Salvation and 2016’s Temple of Phobos are prime examples of quality and creative death metal done right. The latter made it onto my 2016 end of year list, such was the impression it made. As such, I’ve been eagerly awaiting more material from this sterling band.

So, if death metal injected with a good deal of doom and forlorn, yet aggressive, atmosphere is your thing, then look no further than Deimos Sanktuarium. The band’s 90s-influenced style is both authentic and compelling, taking the best aspects of certain brands of death metal from the era, while delivering it into the present day with skill, passion, and obvious talent.

Every time I have the pleasure of hearing something new from Vanhelgd they just seem to get better and better. The band’s dark music is well-crafted, very satisfying, and moreish to the point where as soon as I’ve finished listening to them I just want to start all over again. Charged with negative emotions and wrapped in a cloak of darkness and esoteric appeal, Deimos Sanktuarium is the type of album that you can’t quite seem to fully explore even after multiple listens; it demands your repeat attentions, and is worthy of the time spent getting to know its forbidding deeps.

Vanhelgd’s use of melody is enticing, and the general musical extremity levels of the songs are set just right to maximise both heaviness and atmospheric appeal. The vocals are charismatic and characterful, adding to the music a focal point for the listener’s attention that manages to achieve just this, while never detracting from the impact that the rest of the music has. The various aspects of Vanhelgd’s sound are all balanced well, and the end result is extremely engaging in many ways.

Yes, there’s a great depth to Vanhelgd’s music that’s absent from a lot of their peers. The full force of death metal’s inherent might is incorporated into their music, while the doom influences add macabre and involving atmosphere. Add to this an infusion of emotive prowess that sees the band’s songs transcend mere background listening, (or similar), and you have a collection of tracks that you can truly focus on and listen to intently. Deimos Sanktuarium has enough style to initially draw the listener in, but sufficient depth to hold their attention and keep them returning to it.

What more can I say? Check this out and pick it up as soon as you can.

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