ONDFØDT – Dödsrikets Kallelse
The sinister Finnish horde labeled Ondfødt turned out to be a rather (un)pleasant surprise for yours truly in the sense that they were an unknown entity to me and that I had not come across any of their music by chance beforehand. Then again, it is pretty fucking magnificent when one receives a quality release such as this one out of the blue without any preconceived notions of what lies in store for one.
With a band name as well as an album title like that, one could be forgiven for thinking that this was yet another orthodox black metal release in the vein of countless Swedish and French outfits out there, but that is hardly the case here. In fact, acts such Urgehal, Orcustus, Armagedda, and Sorhin come to mind now and again, but the thing is that Ondfødt have a slightly warmer and deeper sound to them as opposed to the cold and harsh one of the aforementioned bands, but that totally works in favor of "Dödsrikets Kallelse" as its entire aura makes it somewhat easier to absorb and more instantly appealing in a sense. Or in other words, I dig its thick and dense atmosphere and the fact that there is strikingly good balance between the different instruments and whatnot. Boasting solid musicianship and great riffs that range from sharp and lethal to chillingly morose and further on to violently epic, this 11-track offering lacks neither variety nor substance. There are some real gems to be found on this blackened opus, namely "Den Sanna", "Tidin E Komi", and the brilliant "Födömd I Evihejt". The majestic "Dödens Dröm" is also an excellent piece. The only time that it wanders off and loses its drive and momentum is about halfway through with the track entitled "No Ere Jo Satan" – other than that we are all good. The thrashier aspects of the record actually remind me of Aura Noir around the time of their "Deep Tracts of Hell" output only that Ondfødt’s approach to things is less frantic. The vocals are perhaps not the most inventive or dynamic ones you will come across this year when it comes to black metal, but they are certainly competent and suit the song material beautifully. Before I forget, the dark and evocative lyrics also deserve praise.
Clocking in at 35 minutes, "Dödsrikets Kallelse" is a concise and focused affair that delivers its destructive message in a clear and confident manner. This memorable slab of unsettling black metal is not exactly original as such, and one could make the argument that it leans quite a bit towards the more traditional elements associated with the style and genre, but that hardly matters when a record is as good and intriguing as this one is. Highly recommended!