With our apologies from the VM-Underground headquarters, this review comes to you somewhat late, but I should also add right away that I was not extremely curious about new material from Djevel. Although I do not consider myself a Djevel connoisseur and have by no means heard every single note from them, this Norwegian Black Metal band has yet to convince me. With ‘Tanker Som Rir Natten’, these Norwegians releases their seventh full-length album in about ten years (not counting the handful of singles and EP’s), so at least Trånn Ciekals’ healthy work ethic is not to blame.
On first listen, Djevel sounds nice and weaves together interesting and typically Norwegian riffs like nothing else. A good rocking pace punctuated by folky passages, where we can draw comparisons with bands like Satyricon and also, for instance, with the earliest recordings of Dimmu Borgir and Gehenna. The bits of guitar strumming and subtle melodies, come through atmospherically at times, offering contrast against the rather wide range of the vocals. Which go from the standard rasp to epic clean vocals or an old-fashioned rather rough crackle. It is considerably brushing up against a band like Taake, that on its first two albums managed to blend trademark raw Norwegian Black Metal with a folky atmosphere to an unsurpassed and outstanding level. However, when you hear the songs on ‘Tanker Som Rir Natten’ more than once, the shine wears off surprisingly quickly. The enthusiasm that accompanied the first listen quickly gives way to something that could almost be described as indifference. In fact, this has already started halfway through the first listen of ‘Tanker Som Rir Natten’. In the end, it all sounds just a little too neat, vigorously and pretty soulless. While I have no objections to a good and neat production, the music has to warrant it and that is by no means the case with Djevel. The lack of depth and really good hooks mean that even on this latest work, Djevel doesn’t rise above the mid-range, and with the current line-up, which apart from Trånn Ciekals consists of Bård ‘Faust’ Eithun (ex-Emperor) and Kviltrim (Mare, Vemod, Dark Sonority and ex-Kaosritual amongst others), this is actually hardly imaginable. All of these acts are highly respectable in their own rights, but ‘Tanker Som Rir Natten’ is the proof that an album is not a simple sum of the individual values.
Although nowhere really bad and it does approach the great masters of the Norwegian scene, I cannot shake off the feeling that this is just second rate, at best. Let’s just put it this way: Djevel is pretty much the musical equivalent of their yet somewhat simple and childish Microsoft Paint logo.