There are productive, healthy reasons to disappear into darkness and surround yourself with something that’s thickened with ill intent and chilling horrors. It’s a way to sink into the shadows and let negative energies into your system while you deal with what’s really surrounding you. It’s also a way to identify with something dark and dangerous.
The arrival of a new record from Nordic black metal/doom cult Faustcoven could not have come at a better time. “In the Shadow of Doom,” the band’s first record in six years, is filled with what we’ve come to expect from Faustcoven: Horrors, satanic powers, death, misery, you name it, as all those things remain a part of what this Gunnar Hansen-led project has delivered ever since the project’s inception more than 15 years ago. On this new record, comprised of eight tracks spread over an economical 43 minutes, Hansen and drummer Johnny Tombthrasher unravel warping melodies, terrifying trauma, and doomy hellishness. The album feels like a heavy storm building along with an infantry of bloodthirsty soldiers with blunt swords and torture devices set to scramble your guts. Or something like that.
“The Wicked Dead” kicks off the record with dizzying riffs, gruff growls, and a grimy, filthy film that blocks your veins. The pace continues to mete out punishment, as cavernous, creaky growls strike, and then a line from “The Devil Notebooks” thickens the shroud of terror before a thrashy, calculated ending. “The Devil’s Share” has a dirty, bluesy start before doomy clubbing arrives, and Hansen’s scraping yells claim flesh. Dark, poetic wails meet with thick clouds shaded in deep gray before things come to a clubbing end. “Yet He Walks” has humid guitars and leads that go off the rails before the pace offers a trudging assault. The bulk of the song is ugly and heavy, as every element builds its threat that feels like it’s breathing down your neck. “Marching in the Shadow” has crunching riffs and a slow-driving pace before the song has its belly opened, spilling intestines everywhere. Growls gurgle as doom-infested guitars get fired up, with the track washing out with a driving rain.
“Sign of Satanic Victory” has guitars lighting up, blinding, and setting a classic metal tone as it rumbles from its gates. The growls do ample damage, as Hansen wails the song’s title over and over to hammer home the point before guitars drown out the heat. “Lair of Rats” has cymbals being crushed before thrashy meat is served up, and soloing makes things even nastier. A torturous pace develops in a bit of dirt, while the playing grinds out, and guitars send final shockwaves. “As White As She Was Pale” brings even more doomy riffs, as Hansen’s growls gurgle blood, and the lead guitars rivet. There a sense of swaggering bravado, as echoey growls haunt, a pained harmonica aches, and the track ends in bluesy licks. Closer “Quis Este Iste Qui Venit” is comprised of haunting winds blowing before guitars begin a slow charge, and scary, reverb-washed growls infect your blood. Killer riffs cut in and ensure scarring, while we head into a funereal march while the track blasts the earth again, winds and waves chill the flesh, and a pocket of chants brings the song underneath the earth to rest for good.
It’s been a long time since Faustcoven delivered “Hellfire and Funeral Bells” in 2012, but having “In the Shadow of Doom” certainly satisfies any hunger that’s built up since that time. Hansen remains as trustworthy a performer we have in metal, and this record definitely scratches that itch you haven’t been able to get to the last six years. It also provides a chasm of darkness that helps you align with the madness in society that seems as evil as any force there’s ever been.
For more on the band, go here: https://faustcoven.bandcamp.com/music
To buy the album, go here: https://shop.nwnprod.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.nwnprod.com/