Anna von Hausswolff
Dead Magic


4.5
superb

Review

by Manu TC USER (24 Reviews)
March 5th, 2018 | 179 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Your fears are not enough to save you.

Once an architecture student, Anna Von Hausswolff started her musical endeavors with a modest debut in 2010 significantly called Singing From The Grave, but she firmly broke in the "funeral pop" scene two years later with the impressive Ceremony and established her reign shortly after with the following The Miraculous. These two albums showcased not only her mastery of the pipe organ and a stunning, powerful voice but also a composer willing to drag pop conventions down a graveyard of post rock and burial chants to defy any sort of classification of her music. Her brand of dark post-ambient punk allured extreme metal bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, whose last album featured her in the extraordinary "Mother Owl, Father Ocean" among other tracks. It's also not coincidence that her latest release, Dead Magic, has been produced by the Lord of drone himself, Randall Dunn, who is also the man behind the controls for the likes of Marissa Nadler, Earth and Sunn O))). His presence is well noted in the 5 colossal tracks that conform this Dead Magic, an album that presents the amazing evolution of the Swedish artist in a ritual celebration of pagan melodies and pipe organ gloom that carries the weight of her past compositions as well as the subtle influence of the aforementioned artists.

For her last album, the location seem to have been a key concept and so the Swedish composer chose the emblematic and strongly religious ground of the Marble Church in Copenhagen, which also included the 20th Century pipe organ that inaugurates the monumental opening track "The Truth, The Glow, The Fall". The twelve minute suite serves as a rite of passage for the faithful but also as the scourge of the unprepared. This opening track drips with mystical energy from the very beginning, with the organ slowly building a haunting melody that sways Anna's first ominous words: "After the Fall, I'll find you". As the song moves onwards, Anna's voice grows and bleeds with magic indeed, while the hammering of the organ plays against a swarm of radiant strings and a mechanical drum beat to finally die in the frost of Anna's mournful voice.

"The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra" shows Anna unleashed, her singing evocative of a demonic Nico or even Diamanda Galás, she sounds almost possessed by a macabre entity in one of the most intense moments of the album, a droning wonder that represents probably the most abrasive side of Dead Magic. The highlight of the album arrives with "Ugly and Vengeful", a sixteen minute behemoth that acts as the axis of the album and that would no doubt please the Black Emperor himself. Anna's nurturing voice heralds the forthcoming gothic storm in which she channels ancient and otherworldly beings, because whatever happened in that Danish church it has transcended into Dead Magic with absolute dominance. The interlude "The Marble Eye" is a fantastic neoclassic composition that serves as the door to the final stretch of the album, "Källans Återuppståndelse", the celestial light at the end of the tunnel where the Swedish composer is left to the sole company of her organ to conclude the most enticing effort of her already stellar career.

It’s not the first time that Anna Von Hausswolff makes a considerable impact with her music. Instead, it’s becoming the rule for every new release bearing her name and only the Devil knows what the future will speak of her. But if anything is certain is that Dead Magic consecrates the Swedish diva as one of the most important artists of the last decade, a supernatural banshee capable of weaving the soft wools of folk and pop with vampire thirst, creating a masterpiece that will positively outlive the vengeful spirits that roam within.



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user ratings (163)
Chart.
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
March 4th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Strong AOTY contender.



Listen: https://annavonhausswolffmusic.bandcamp.com/album/dead-magic



Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nre0hcDz5TI

Digging: Malena Zavala - Aliso

SandwichBubble
March 4th 2018


6228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably gonna be a 4.0 with further listens, this rules.



I don't like the use of literally in that first sentence, but maybe I'm misunderstanding its purpose there.

Digging: Don Robertson - Dawn

Dewinged
March 4th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oops let me quickly update my dig first.



Ok now.



Regarding that, Sandwich, I tried to emphasize how impactful was Ceremony, but maybe I failed, dunno... ;/





theBoneyKing
March 4th 2018


14288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lovely review for a lovely album! Really digging this, The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra has gotta be one of the year’s best tracks so far.

Digging: Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog

SandwichBubble
March 4th 2018


6228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Dewinged Let someone more capable tell you if it worked, i don't know shit ;)



Glad this isn't reviewless at the very least

Dewinged
March 4th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ok Sand, if someone else calls it out too I'll change it ;) and yeah it was a sin none of her work had been reviewed yet.



And glad you dig Boneyman!

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2018


7571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dewi review = auto pos.. will check the album tomorrow

Digging: Abwarts - Amok Koma

Dewinged
March 4th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tx butch!



I have the feeling you will vibe to this one.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2018


8449 Comments


Man we’re seeing some high scores to start the year. 2018 has got to stop being so damn good haha

Great write up Dewi

Dewinged
March 4th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was gonna 4 it Noct but I thought, "heck, it's gonna grow anyway" haha



2018 shaping good yeah

BlazinBlitzer
March 5th 2018


783 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It would've been a 4.5 without "The Marble Eye". I guess the search for 4.5+ this year continues... Not to be negative on the album, though, this is dope.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2018


7801 Comments


Need to check this out, thanks for this write-up.

Dewinged
March 5th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers Voivod, and yeah Blitz, I think The Marble Eye would probably work better in the middle but as itself it is still an organ beauty.

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


2296 Comments


Fantastic review, Manu, so excited to check this now. I agree with "literally" in the first paragraph -- it does provide emphasis, and is often used colloquially, but it's also oft-contested and """technically""" incorrect as far as I'm aware. (By which I mean it doesn't really matter, your meaning is still clear, but there are perhaps more appropriate words to use.) Your last paragraph could also be broken up (I'd use a fullstop after "music" in the first line, then before "but"), but it doesn't matter too much. Rest of the write-up is 👌.

Digging: Princess Nokia - A Girl Cried Red

Dewinged
March 5th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fixing that last para and literally removing "literally" from there (haha, sorry, don't know why butI love that word!). Any suggestion as replacement Blush?

guitarded_chuck
March 5th 2018


14566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aoty so far

RadicalEd
March 5th 2018


8926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dank stuff for sure.

Digging: Mark Renner - Few Traces

Dedes
March 5th 2018


5725 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this is some of the weirdest shit I've heard in recent times and I love it. Mega pos.

MarsKid
March 5th 2018


7005 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Consider me intrigued. A pipe organ eh

Digging: Palm Reader - Braille

Dewinged
March 5th 2018


9170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A very big one, Mars.



Tx for the mega pos Dedeman.



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