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Saturday, March 31, 2018
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One of the most productive human (at least I think he is) beings from Mater Terra’s soil must be Henrik Björkk aka Herr Kremator aka Nordvargr. A limited selection: Pouppée Fabrikk, Folkstorm, Körperwelten, Hydra Head 9, All Hail The Transcending Ghost, MZ.412, Kongo, Toroidh, many collaborations (with e.g. colleagues from MZ.412), and acting under his own monikers (as Henrik Björkk, or Vargr, Marvargr, Goatvargr and Nordvargr). And there are much more…

Under the name Nordvargr, Henrik did create and release quite some interesting recordings in the meantime. Earlier this year, Henrik released another album under the Nordvargr moniker, called Metempsychosis. Hey, that was also the title for the contribution of System Morgue on the Heresy compilation, but that has nothing to do with this review. The name means ‘reincarnation’, aka the doctrine of soul-transmigration, the separation of body and soul after the end of physical living. It has been used within theosophical, religious, spiritual and philosophical manners, and that’s exactly what this album refers to: the search for what this outer-body experience is going through, and the physical shape being chosen by a spirit / soul.

The album was released via Cyclic Law via digital sources, on tape (limited to 100 copies), on compact disc (500 copies, as six-panel digipack), and on vinyl (200 copies). Yet pay attention if you choose your copy, for LP and tape have one track that does not feature on the CD or on the digital version, and vice-versa. I did receive the digital promo copy, so I have no idea about the track Silent Host (on tape and vinyl, as mentioned). Anyway, the album lasts for thirty-eight minutes and features grandiose artwork by no one else but Dehn Sora.

Metempsychosis starts with Into The Cycle Of All And Nothing, which initially sounds like a piece that could have been created by one or another project involved with Cryo Chamber’s roster. In a cinematic way, there is that Lovecraftian character, based on haunting drones and gloomy ambience. After a while, different metallic percussions and martial beats join, as well as the grim and ominous throat of the creator. It introduces very nicely the flesh-transcending concept of the album. First East continues with a more ritualistic attitude. Martial march-beats, aspects from Death Industrial, the guest voice of Thomas Ekelund (Trepaneringsritualen), and even hints of psycho-grinding majesty (cf. Saw Throat or Scorn) are part of the hymn. Some chapters on Metempsychosis are drenched in an asphyxiating, oppressive veil of endless desolation and darkness (Consolamentum is such semi-meditative, transcendental and hypnotic example), others have a militaristic, martial character (check out the track that didn’t make it to the vinyl or tape version, Salve Teragmon, based on electronic bass-lines and pushing drum beats, or the harsher war-hymn Livet Tar Slut), then again you have the intense, doomy, heavy droning spine that refers to higher mentioned Lovecraftian spheres (like the mostly obscure and conjuring, even tribal hymns Invocation For A Malicious Spirit or Sweet Death Triumphant) – or you have a combination of all these possibilities.

In general, this whole experience reminds me a lot of Anima Nostra, another of Henrik’s outfits, which he runs with Margaux Renaudin, rather than any other one. Okay, there are hints of older Nordvargr material, evidently, of MZ.412, and of ᚾᛟᚢ II // ᚦᛟᚦ ᚷᛁᚷ (a new project Henrik has with Thomas Ekelund) too. Mingling Drone, Dark Ambient, Ritual Ambient, Death Industrial and Martial Industrial, Metempsychosis has resulted in a fabulous trip through the brain, a militant caress of the listener’s eardrums.