Release: 27 August 2021
Label: Black Lodge Records
“Another day, another Swedish Black Metal band” you might think to yourself and I would partially agree but as all things subjective, this is equally a welcomed and rejected perspective to which I’ll simply assume you’re moving forward with the former; these words still retaining your attention. THIS particular BM Swede horde has been fairly productive in the last four years, materializing three solid albums for consumption. In fact, their previous release Nattarvet caught many ears here at Folk-Metal.nl and took 9th Best Album of 2019, with a strong showing on the Ghostlands premier too so you can trust us when we proclaim Wormwoord’s quality! However, it also being the first review in many months for me, I’ll preemptively apologize for any jadedness that will inevitably emerge, and to be honest, that may be due to a recent shift towards electronic and alt-metal, overall a generally broader disdain for the familiar.
Clearly judging by the numerical attribute I’ve granted this album, two things can be surmised. One, I am still very much into Folk Metal and two, Wormwood continue to showcase a work worthy. Remnants of rock n’roll yesteryear are evident on the opener and single The Archive, and are instant nostalgia triggers with several folk elements sprinkled throughout. I would further argue that an equal blend of classic rock, folk and black metal is the overall perceived theme on Arkivet. It is approachable and as previously noted by another reviewer on Nattarvet, “accessible” folkened back metal. The conventional song structure may be off putting to some younger listeners, yet Wormwood keep it intriguing by incorporating these currently considered Progressive elements like a rock groove familiar from Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. When comparing to other Folk-Metal acts, bits and pieces of melodic Finntroll and melancholy Moonsorrow peak through this modernized visage.
This latest record is complete with newly minted mostly English lyrics, baring a painful message on the futility of humanity, ever emphasized by our collective dissonance. As such, a doomy essence and slower pace flow through each track in very “atmospheric blackened” fashion, employing traditional fry screams and spurts of lightly distorted clean chants, primary melodies entrenched in longing, dragging wails of lead guitar.
The Gentle Touch of Humanity rounds off the atmospheric dread and existential angst nicely, because we all know there is no such thing; the painful reminders of climate denial and humanitarian disparity indifference teach us otherwise. Wormwood emphasize this by including the most horrific headlines from the world’s hardest year thus far, pandemia 2020. Our collective trauma would have seemingly driven society towards improvement but learning isn’t that easy and profit will always prevail. So in the end, have we gleamed anything form all the horror? Me and this record may remind you to beg to differ. But enough about the sad, just go listen to help dull such pain.
- The Archive
- End of Message
- My Northern Heart
- The Slow Drown
- The Gentle Touch of Humanity