Review Summary: A different shade of gloom
Sweden’s Ofdrykkja have made a name for themselves as a moderately prominent player in the depressive black metal scene. As someone only familiar with their 2019 effort Gryningsvisor
, I was impressed with its combination of absolutely gorgeous short dark folk tracks and longer, ambient-leaning, doomy black metal compositions. For the follow-up, After The Storm
, though, the band has greatly reduced both the runtime and the metal influence, producing a brief album leaning into somber Nordic folk influences.
Barely surpassing the thirty-minute mark as a whole, the record’s seven tracks are decidedly low-key. Subdued and bare-bones instrumental-heavy songs are the order of the day, although a range of male and female clean vocals regularly here and there. Everything is undeniably pretty, as well as atmospheric, but obvious highlights are scarce. The two notable exceptions are the title track and the lengthy closer, “Beyond The Belt Of Orion”, with the former proving attractive with its blended vocals adding a richness which belies the restrained instrumental underpinnings, while the latter might be compared to Agalloch’s “A Desolation Song”, as both tunes achieve great emotional potency despite relying on what might be dismissed as cringey poetry.
After The Storm
marks a distinct shift for Ofdrykkja. With the discarding of the vast majority of metallic elements, the group is pursuing a softer musical vision, even if their overarching melancholy remains. Overall, the album is a qualified success, a competent execution of a full-on dark folk release with several standout tracks, even if its succinct nature suggests that a little expansion could’ve improved the overall presentation. For mood music in the bleakly beautiful time of year as autumn turns to winter, you could do much worse.