Dødsengel – Bab Al On (Review)

Dødsengel - Bab Al OnThis is the fifth album from Norwegian black metal band Dødsengel.

I haven’t caught up with Dødsengel in a while, but enjoyed both their 2013 split with Nightbringer – Circumambulations of the Solar Inferno – and their 2017 album Interequinox, so when Bab Al On appeared with its very striking album art, I knew I wanted to explore that it had to offer.

Bab Al On delivers a 72-minute journey into the arcane and the occult. Dødsengel’s black metal is esoteric and dark, with the feeling of an extended ritual of some sort never being too far away from the music’s boundaries.

Dødsengel combine traditional black metal with unusual atmospheres and eerie moods. The music is both raw and immaculate, somehow managing to draw out the best of both worlds to produce songs that seem to exist in their own mysterious realm. The music makes good use of cold blackened melodies, while psychedelic malevolence seethes and rages. Laced with avant-garde incantations and a varied breadth of scope, there’s a majesty to Bab Al On that’s absorbing and hypnotic. The music transports you from everyday existence and into the grim underworld of Dødsengel’s infernal domain. Sinister and ominous, Bab Al On is heavily atmospheric and engaging, conjuring the sort of soundscapes that you can only imagine existing somewhere in Hell’s unforgiving depths.

The vocals are possessed and vary considerably across the album. There’s a component to the singer’s performance that might be considered theatrical, were it not for the intensity and daemonic energy that it manifests.

If you’re a fan of bands like Nightbringer, Mephorash, Watain, Funeral Mist, Schammasch, and Blut Aus Nord, then make sure you spend time in Dødsengel’s world.

Very highly recommended.

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