Album Review: MYLINGAR Döda Själar
The old adage goes: all good things come to an end. An ugly, rotten, eviscerated end. The death metal revival won't last forever, unfortunately, and what's to come only time will tell. Don't be surprised if it all gets real eclectic from here on out though. However, when the death metal revival does go, don't be surprised when there's a sudden obligation to talk about Mylingar.
Sweden holds a plethora of great death metal bands that know how to wring blood from a stone. Mylingar, depending on how closely one follows labels like Amor Fati, is either one of Sweden's best-kept secrets, or a force of suffocating destruction that is huffing more filthy energy into the vomitous death metal sarcophagus. Döda Själar (or "Dead Souls") their third release in three years, the group is showing no signs of slowing down their turn over. Like Tomb Mold, these guys are unstoppable.
It's hard to avoid cliche descriptors like bestial, raw, or savage when describing Mylingar's sound, but it's hard to put it any other way. Döda Själar is just that though. From the opening chords to the final seconds, this album is as unforgiving, ruthless, and raw as they come. When Döda Själar begins its filth laden journey, the band wastes no time in storming the cemetery gates, and in only a few seconds Mylingar become the aural version of pure horror.
The biggest take away from this record is how vicious Mylingar's sound and scope are. Their sound has been a suffocating mash of black and death metal, but on this one, the band is scraping the dust off the tombs and stone walls. "Obalansen" breaks through the speakers and the aggression and horror is immediately established. Everything sounds like its played from inside an ancient crypt. The guitars sound damp and clammy over the distortion and the drums are practically chasing the listener down a hall with thunderous aggression. Meanwhile, the vocals are a horrific mix of ghostly, ghastly and disgusting; rotting through the microphone, never too buried in the mix.
Mylingar sound like they've been writing death metal for way longer than they've been playing. Every aspect of this record is caked with death and horror in ways that most bands can only dream of. The persistent barrage of riffs is almost overwhelming, they hit so hard. Yet, it feels like that's the point—the life is supposed to get sucked out of us. There are plenty of points of melody or breakdown, but even those feel like they're drenched in madness and decay. This is most evident on the final track, "Förlusten." At ten-minutes long, Mylingar are truly moving in to kill.
Döda Själar marks the end of a trilogy, beginning with the EP Döda Vägar (or "Dead Roads") and moving into their first full-length Döda Drömmar (or "Dead Dreams"). If there are lyrical connections, they currently escape the public eye. Certainly, the artwork of each album is connected, as EP contains a singular entity, the first LP two, and this one three. Anything beyond that will have to be revealed via speculation or by the band themselves. Regardless, the trilogy sounds connected, and only more vicious as one continues to listen.
Nothing about this album is easy but it's everything a death metal record should be. It's haunted, horrific halls could not feel more bleak or desolate. And it's like the band is hunting its prey at every turn. The structure is amazing and there's nary a dull moment. For newcomers, it's going to feel atonal at first. The previous records had similar moments too but were nonetheless disgusting slabs of death. Mylingar is making some of the best current death metal and they're starting to get the recognition they deserve. Suffocating, brutal, and haunting. Döda Själar warns us early on: there is no hope for any of us. This is like choking on cobwebs.