Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pest - Dauðafærð (2004)

More often than not, bands will record their best and most inspired material early on in their careers, only to degenerate over time and to become irrelevant. However, there are times when the musicians go the opposite direction and actually get their acts together with time. In the case of the Swedish band Pest, they had done nothing of note for some years, other than release a string of unimpressive and mediocre Darkthrone worship. Yet, in 2004, they surprised many with the brilliant Dauðafærð E.P. 

This release consists of a single track that stretches over twenty minutes. Based on their past, one would think that Necro and Equimanthorn were unsuited for such a task, but they managed to put together a monumental piece of Black Metal. "Lífit es dauðafærð" sounds as if the band had put their Darkthrone records aside for a while, instead preferring to listen to the classic works of Burzum. The slow build-up is reminiscent of "Det Som En Gang Var", and some of the slower riffs also sound very much influenced by this track. The vocals, though, are far from the tortured screams of Varg Vikernes. Necro's voice sounds utterly filled with hate and surely the old Norse lyrics help with this harsh feeling. Throughout the song, more primitive riffs alternate with bitter cold tremolo melodies that come together to create a dark and frozen atmosphere. Finally, the production of a Pest album really works well with the material, being clear enough to hear all that is going on but still allowing for a raw edge. Despite its length, "Lífit es dauðafærð" never becomes tedious or repetitive, as there are several tempo changes. This is the sort of music that would be really fitting to accompany one while wandering through a frozen wasteland, littered with corpses, on the way toward some endless dark forest where the chains of mortality shall soon be broken forever. Therein lies one of the strongest qualities of the song, that it is able to take the listener beyond their surroundings and on a journey into darkness. As it progresses, a sombre feeling begins to emerge as the cold blade caresses your flesh. The knife will have the last word, and the snow-covered earth shall drink your blood...

Dauðafærð is an epic, dark and majestic offering that is about as essential as any post-90's release can be. Rather than purely mimic their main influence, as they had done on earlier albums, Pest used it as a foundation on which to create some truly impressive Black Metal. The sole track here is dynamic, engaging and never bores, whatsoever. It is dripping with a cold and dark atmosphere and exudes the sort of passion that the band's previous output absolutely lacked. The strange thing is that, following such genius, the band went on to release another mediocre album that seemed to have no connection with this, at all. Regardless, this E.P. is highly recommended.