I have always admired the artists (especially those coming from the extreme metal spectrum) who were able to have a larger picture and look at things, musically speaking, a bit outside the box. It’s a well known fact that metal, and especially black metal, can be a very close environment, where those who had a different mindset were often labelled as “traitors”. Two of the most famous characters who first dabbled in ambient music were Mortiis (post Emperor era and until the end of the ’90s) and of course Varg Vikernes, who incorporated ambient elements since his early works, culminating while in prison with Daudi Baldrs and Hlidskjalf, both completely ambient records.
To many die hard metalheads (myself included), those releases seemed totally crap back in the day and were quickly dismissed as “sell out” or betrayal of the cause. Eventually time proved that what seemed to be a bold move back then, turned out to be a path laid for other extreme metal musicians to walk on many years later.
One of these musicians is Daniel Rostén, better known by his aliases Mortuus or Arioch, which he uses in bands like Triumphator, Funeral Mist or Marduk.
The reason I am writing this, let’s call it atypical review (this is the first album review written on Scrolls which deals with a non-rock/metal release), is that on the 13th of March Daniel Rostén, under the name Domjord, has released his first ambient/electronic music album, “Sporer”. This debut album is out on Vidfare Productions (a subdivision of NoEvDia) and in cooperation with Ajna Offensive.
The album consists of 5 tracks of dark ambient sounds, which were composed between 2012 and 2019. The music is somehow catchy and induces a trance-like state, if listened in proper conditions. Occasionally it can be obsessive, ritualistic even, with a certain feeling of unease (“Ande“). Some oriental vocal parts emerge from the speaker on the title track “Sporer”, surprising you when you are least expecting it.
If the first four tracks seem to flow easily, the apex is reached with “Natt“, the last (and the longest) song of this unusual album. This intense track is the perfect closure for the record, as in almost 14 minutes Rostén uses all the minimalistic elements of the previous tracks in one single glorious finale. Whispered hypnotic female vocals, repetitive piano sounds and obsessive notes envelop you slowly, growing on you, just like a spider weaves its webs around its helpless victim.
When the track ends you remain somehow confused, the repetitive rhythms still echoing in your brain. What the hell did you just listen to? Could this be the same guy who spills his guts on stage with Marduk or spews forth his blasphemies in Funeral Mist? The Lord really works in mysterious ways, and this album proves again that good music is indeed based on feelings and emotions.
In the end, I can honestly say that for me, “Sporer” is a mind opening album which gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and approach this kind of music I normally would not have wanted to listen to. And I am really grateful for that.
Domjord – Sporer tracklist: