The new school of old-school death metal at its best.
To any extreme metal enthusiast, the phrase “Swedish death metal” has had meaning since the early days, when legendary bands such as Entombed, Grave and Dismember first appeared on the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Classic Swedish death metal has been characterized by its ominous, brooding atmosphere and heavy riffage – like a horror movie soundtrack played with downtuned electric guitars.
The recent revival of old-school Swedish death metal – as opposed to the younger bands playing so-called melodic death metal, coming especially from Gothenburg – has brought us many talented new bands. Vanhelgd are arguably one of the best.
Mjölby five piece Vanhelgd started their career in 2007 and have been releasing high quality material on a regular basis. Especially since their third full-length, the 2013 release Relics of Sulphur Salvation, they’ve been able to write death metal that pays respect to the progenitors of the genre without being just a retro band.
Many of the elements of classic death metal bands, like savage guttural vocals and a deep guitar tone, have found their way into Vanhelgd’s sound, but the band is able to use these elements in a way that makes its expression primarily its own.
At their best, Vanhelgd deliver utter darkness, set to music. This certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but any brave soul in search of dark and heavy music could do much worse than these Swedes.