Vemod - The Deepening
Atmospheric Black Metal
6 songs (48:23)
Release year: 2024
Reviewed by Goat

A long twelve years ago, Norwegian duo Vemod came out of nowhere with an acclaimed debut album, Venter På Stomare. The band, featuring current and past members of beloved scene veterans such as Djevel, Mare, and One Tail, One Head, promptly went quiet since, and only recently resurfaced as a trio with a follow-up album in the form of The Deepening. Perhaps it's mere perfectionism that has kept fans waiting so long - and few other genres than black metal seem to hold such gems in mind for so long - yet it was worth the wait, with an updated and slightly clearer sound and a more melodic and melancholic take on the band's particular brand of ethereal darkness. Some might argue that their sound is closer to post-black than atmospheric black of the sort that the likes of Drudkh have made infamous, but either way it's undeniably black metal and undeniably atmospheric at that.

Perhaps the first album had a little more pure darkness with a stronger backbone of Darkthrone worship (those who missed it at the time should certainly catch up!) yet as first track proper Der guder dør quickly proves The Deepening is definitely black metal. Lush strummed acoustic guitars behind the battery give it an epic, almost Western vibe, while the hefty influence from post-rock audible in the riffs makes for a near-shimmering beauty regardless. It's in keeping with that lovely cover art, having the best sort of "strolling in nature" feel that the best examples of atmospheric black metal share. And although quite lengthy at over thirteen minutes long, the track doesn't feel stretched or patience-testing thanks to a mid-track ambient break that builds back up in an almost Agalloch style, folky and with wordless clean singing and synths.

That suggestion of a Norwegian challenger or successor to Agalloch's oaken throne will perk up ears, and indeed there's much here to suggest an influence from across the waves, not least on True North Beckons' more galloping charge through similar territory, later turning a little more progressive in style to mark it out as a, well, progression! The more upbeat Inn i lysende natt leans the furthest away from pure black metal with a six minute piece that takes in everything from more Western strums to downright post-punk drumming, yet it's a mere breathing space when compared to the following title track. At over sixteen minutes the longest piece present it's also undoubtedly the best, leaning more on clean vocals and working more progressive elements like the varied drumming in smoothly whilst simultaneously having the hypnotic quality that makes black metal so endearing. Throughout the album the musicianship and production are superb, with audible bass for us bottom-end admirers, and even the intro/interlude pieces here are brief and beautiful in their own way. A winner; let's hope we're not waiting another twelve years for future Vemod opuses.

Killing Songs :
Der guder dør, True North Beckons, The Deepening
Goat quoted 85 / 100
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