|#FOR FANS OF: Black/Folk, early Ulver, Burzum|
It’s pretty usual that metal musicians, who take part in several bands, tend to release solo albums just to make some music based on their different influences or musical roots. This is the case with JoDöden’s debut 'Sittandes I Sjön Med Vatten Över Huvudet', which I must mention, it’s a quite funny album title (a rough translation would be “seated in the lake with water over the head”). JoDöden, the mastermind behind this homonymous project, is already known in the black metal scene due to his main projects. Whirling is a band which combines black metal with avant-garde influences, while Sorgeldom was founded by the Swedish mastermind as an acoustic project. Later the project evolved to black metal, becoming a full band with the addition of several members.
Taking into account the aforementioned musical background and after having listened to the album, I come to the logic conclusion that he has somehow returned to his roots with this solo album. 'Sittandes…' is a nature themed album and specifically a Nordic nature based work. Those beautiful coastal northern towns and extensive forests have served as a spiritual inspiration för JoDöden, whose music tries to evoke the vast and cold essence of northern Sweden. The album has an organic sound, far from those ultra-polished modern works, which in my opinion suits perfectly well the music. As far as I know, these songs have been recorded in different places, moments and even different moods. This explains the heterogeneous sound of these tracks, which initially can be confusing. A good example is the difference in the production between the opener track, “Aprilvädret”, and the more blackish track “Bottenlös”, which comes immediately after the first song. This song has a quite filthy production in comparison. Both tracks are also a good example of what we can find in this work. Stylistically, the album is mainly instrumental, with a great role for the acoustic guitars (like in the first track), while the second one is an example of how JoDöden tries to introduce some of his black metal and avant-garde influences. Anyway, as I have already mentioned, the acoustic sections are quite common and they are usually mainly instrumental. In that aspect, this album reminds me at times Wongraven or even the most acoustic tracks by Ulver. The very few “blackish” sections sound a little bit out of place, although I find them interesting. This is mainly because they add an extra point of variety, which is something this album really needs. The long and sometimes tedious acoustic tracks are, from time to time, broken by slightly avant-garde influenced compositions, which make this album a weird beast.
In conclusion, JoDöden’s debut solo album is a strange folk album. It combines a nature themed folk with some avant-garde influences and minor black metal sections. It’s mainly instrumental and repetitious style makes it a difficult listen if you don´t usually listen to this sort of stuff. Unsurprisingly, he covers a Burzum track, a band which is well-known for not having very varied tracks. As it happens with Varg’s stuff, JoDöden is a project you really need “feel” in order to really appreciate his music. (Alain González Artola)
(Nordvis Produktions - 2017)