- Band(s): Bræ
- Label(s): Amor Fati Productions
- Release Format(s): 12" vinyl
- Release Year: 2023
- Review Date: March 16, 2023
- Author(s): VincentP
The debut album of Bræ entitled ‘A Thousand Ways to End it all’ was released in 2021 without any background information about the band. For the follow-up ‘Av Vålnader Bortom Allt’ (which translates to ‘Of Waves Beyond Everything’), the band and label decided to disclose the members behind the Depressive Black Metal project. None other than Swartadauþuz (Bekëth Nexëhmü and numerous other bands) on vocals and Déhà (Wolvennest and an equally lengthy list of other projects) on all instruments have teamed up once again in one of the bleakest entities the members share.
On the debut album the band had recorded two 21-minute tracks filled with mostly crawling and suffocating Depressive Black Metal. Consistent with that album, ‘Av Vålnader Bortom Allt’ also consists of two tracks that are 21 minutes in length. You would maybe expect the new album to sound exactly like its predecessor, but while there are certainly lots of similarities, there are substantial differences. On ‘A Thousand Ways to End it all’ many of the guitar riffs repeated for extended periods and the drums provided some sense of dynamics, although most of the pace remained in the lower to slower regions. Already within the first minutes of ‘I Nattskrud Viska’, the opening track of the latest album, the band has incorporated more pace and dynamics than in the entire 42 minutes of the previous album together. That doesn’t mean than the depressive and choking sound of the debut has been abandoned. On the contrary, if anything, ‘Av vålnader bortom allt’ sounds more desolate and bleaker.
The sound of the album is even more hollow and almost approaches Lo-Fi values. At the same time, the already maniacal vocals have been taken up a notch in diversity and insanity value, but also in terms of adding always welcome oohs and howls. Due to a more urgent touch to the music through faster drum sections and riffs, the sound feels possible more smothering and disorienting, as if you’re plummeting into the engrossing abyss. Because of this added dynamics in pace, the album takes a far more unpredictable shape. On ‘A Thousand Ways to End it all’ both tracks had a similar build-up to a calmer and Ambient break, and while ‘I Nattskrud Viska’ has a similarly placed section, the overall more diverse nature in pace makes it feel far less formulaic. ‘Efter ålderdomens tid’ does not follow this mentioned pattern at all, instead crawling under your skin with atonal shifting (acoustic) riffs that recur throughout the song as it builds further upon its all-consuming darkness. This is clearly the song that stands out the most out of the work of Bræ and serves as the unsettling pinnacle of their recordings so far.
Building upon a strong debut, ‘Av Vålnader Bortom Allt’ has all the bleak and suffocating qualities of its predecessor and more. Through more dynamics in pace the album is far less predictable and keeps you on your toes, trying to stay aware of whatever darkness lurks around the corner. A massive step up for Bræ, and my favourite collaboration between Swartadauþuz and Déhà so far!
- Country: Sweden
- Style: Black Metal