Review Summary: A marriage of bleak and beautiful
Todbringer is a rather curious affair. It isn’t what I would call an eclectic or bizarre record, but it is seemingly unlike anything I have heard before. Its tone is one that holds you captive whilst barraging you with bleak, tortured shrieks, and dismal guitar work. This isn’t exactly treading new ground for black metal (especially the subset of black metal this album dabbles in), but the way in which this is executed is something else entirely. It isn’t a record of swelling sadness because it set itself out to be one. No, perhaps what makes this album so heart-wrenching is how it paints the image of hueless skies and decaying fauna while remaining natural and well-grounded . Whether it be through sweeping guitar riffs, flourishes of piano or through the mix of ugly rasps and shrieks, the sense of despair always worms its way in.
This is not to say, however, that joy doesn’t rear its head at all. In fact, the last two tracks of this album (if you include the bonus acoustic track, that is) are rife with a bittersweet sort of happiness. No, not quite the “light at the end of the tunnel” form of happiness, nor the “hope in the darkest of place” form of it either. What is found here, through building snares and melancholic acoustic guitar, is something more akin to acceptance. The feeling when one bears so much heartache that the only way to feel peace is to shove it all aside, and start anew. Maybe the curious sound of this album isn’t so alien-maybe it’s the sound of something that resides within all of us, urging us onward through the mire of life.