Album Review – Ov Shadows / I Djävulens Avbild (2020)

Arising from the darkest pits of Gothenburg, this Swedish horde is ready to stun us all once again with the Atmospheric Black Metal guided by chaos and darkness from their sophomore opus.

“Come forth from eternity
Beyond the paradise and tempt me with the forbidden fruit
Tempt me with knowledge and power and let me become god
I’m willing to leave the paradise
Mother of blasphemy and fornication
Dark goddess Lilith”

Gothenburg, Sweden’s own Black Metal entity Ov Shadows is rising once again form the pits of the underworld to stun us all with their sophomore full-length opus, titled I Djävulens Avbild, which translates to English as “In the Devil’s Image”, the follow-up to their 2018 debut album The Darkness Between Stars. Featuring a beautiful artwork by artist Vandraren, also known as Mister Snowpulse, the new record presents the band comprised of RA on vocals and bass, AA and AF on the guitars, and JW on drums at an unprecedented ferocity and forward-momentum, and apparently very intent on proving that to their listeners immediately, as pummeling drums and a heavy galloping riff fill the speakers within seconds of the album. “Ov Shadows is about exploring and embracing the dark aspects that dwell within us all – your ‘shadows-self’ as Carl Jung expressed it. Our vision is to create an atmospheric Black Metal guided by chaos and darkness,” commented the band, inviting us all to join them in their obscure and austere realm.

As aforementioned, the opening tune Den Eld Som Tär Och Förvrider (“The Fire That Consumes And Distorts”) offers us all an infernal sonic devastation from the very first second, with RA showcasing his welcome card in the form of his otherworldly screeches while JW shakes the foundations of the earth with his thunderous blast beats, whereas in Blasfemiskt Crescendo (“Blasphemous Crescendo”) we’re treated to more of their demonic Black Metal where AA and AF sound like two chainsaws with their cutting riffs, providing RA all he needs to thrive with both his wicked roars and rumbling bass. And an imposing and grim vibe will penetrate deep inside your soul in the Atmospheric Black Metal tune titled Under Dödens Vingar (“Under the Wings of Death”), where the band’s guitar duo continues to fire lancinating riffs through their axes nosntop while JW keeps the pace as heavy and thunderous as possible behind his drum set.

This Swedish quartet keeps slamming our skulls with their strident and sulfurous Black Metal in Anakoretens Gap (“The Maw of the Anchorite”), sounding very rhythmic, somber and doomed, spearheaded by JW’s bestial drumming and the always venomous growling by RA, while the title-track I Djävulens Avbild (“In the Devil’s Image”) keeps bringing to our avid ears Ov Shadows’ dense fusion of old school and contemporary Black Metal with Melodic Black Metal and even Doom Metal nuances, with the spine-chilling guitars by AA and AF giving you nightmares during your sleep. Then blazing guitars and a feeling of hopelessness will invade your senses in Spotsk (“Defiant”), another Stygian creation by Ov Shadows presenting some interesting breaks and variations amidst all the havoc crafted by JW and RA with their devilish kitchen, followed by the closing aria Av Kunskap Krönt Till Gud (“By Knowledge Crowned God”), even more demonic and dark than its predecessors, or in other words, a lesson in Melodic Black Metal led by RA’s hellish screams while AA and AF keep bringing fire and wrath to the musicality with their sick riffage.

The Stygian and austere creations by Ov Shadows are waiting for you on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your true support to this skillful Swedish horde and your admiration for the darkest side of heavy music, you can buy your copy of I Djävulens Avbild, all sung in their mother tongue Swedish by the way (as opposed to their previous album entirely sung in English), from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp or webstore in regular CD format or as an amazing CD + shirt + patch + sticker bundle, and you can always follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for new, tour dates and more of their hellish music. Chaos and darkness reign supreme in the musical world brought forth by Ov Shadows in their newborn spawn, pointing to a bright future for the band in their already solid career, and inviting us all to renounce light and succumb to darkness for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Blasfemiskt Crescendo, Anakoretens Gap and Av Kunskap Krönt Till Gud.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Hypnotic Dirge Records

Track listing
1. Den Eld Som Tär Och Förvrider 6:26
2. Blasfemiskt Crescendo 6:24
3. Under Dödens Vingar 5:44
4. Anakoretens Gap 5:07
5. I Djävulens Avbild 6:09
6. Spotsk 6:34
7. Av Kunskap Krönt Till Gud 6:34

Band members
RA – vocals, bass
AA – guitars
AF – guitars
JW – drums

Album Review – Ov Shadows / The Darkness Between Stars (2018)

Representing an exploration beyond the sane and mentally sound, this talented Swedish horde is ready to haunt our souls with seven unrelenting tracks of atmospheric and sinister Black Metal.

“Embrace your shadow self – your dark aspects. Don’t hide away. Let those harmless creatures, turn into raging monsters. Let chaos guide your consciousness. You are ov Shadows.”

Those few sentences frame the concept behind Swedish Black Metal horde Ov Shadows, representing an exploration beyond the sane and mentally sound. With their music and lyrics, Ov Shadows acknowledge the duality that divide a persona and the shadow self, continuing further into the dark, a portal into chaos without barriers and rules. And after crossing that portal, you’ll be ready to explore the sinister realms of Atmospheric Black Metal ruled by Ov Shadows in their brand new album, entitled The Darkness Between Stars.

Formed in the city of Gothenburg in 2016, the band comprised of RA (aka Ronny Attergran) on vocals and bass, AF (aka Andreas Frizell) and AA (aka Anders Ahlbäck) on the guitars, and JW (aka Jonas Wickstrand) on drums returns after their 2016 debut EP Monologues with more of their Stygian sound, delivering epic riffs that turn from mournful to triumphant in a way that is stirring and emotionally satisfying. In other words, The Darkness Between Stars has everything that one could possibly want out of a Black Metal album, those being a truly dark atmosphere, an epic feel, the right mix of melody and grimness, and an engaging song structure.

Ominous sounds emerge from the dark chambers of hell until the quartet begins their devilish mass in the title-track The Darkness Between Stars, blasting sheer brutality and blasphemy during its almost 7 minutes of music.  RA sounds like a possessed demon on vocals, while JW delivers the most classic form of blast beats, generating a straightforward musicality recommended for admirers of the genre. In Bellowing Shadows, darkness and rage keep flowing from the band’s instruments in an excellent display of Black Metal, with their evil guitar duo AF and AA cutting our skin with their old school riffage, whereas RA’s gnarls sound and feel even more disturbing. And displaying hints of Doom Metal and Blackened Doom (but still reeking of putrid Black Metal) we have The Hanged Man, where JW continues his pulverizing path while both guitars sound as sulfurous as they can be, all spiced up by a sinister atmospheric passage before all hell breaks loose again.

The acid Disguised As Altruism is another demolishing Black Metal feast by Ov Shadows, with its guitars getting more and more scorching as the music progresses while the overall malignancy is considerably boosted by JW’s unstoppable beats, living up to the legacy of Scandinavian Black Metal. The Ritual of the Natural Flame already begins in full force, with the four members of the band summoning total darkness with their Stygian instruments, in special RA and his high-pitched demonic roars (not to mention the song’s somber and absolutely menacing break). After such beautiful blast of Black Metal, strident riffs and gnarls set the tone in the dense metallic extravaganza named Hordes Abiding the Narrator, with all instruments generating a mesmerizing dark ambience perfect for RA and his vociferations. Lastly, their final onrush of blasphemy and obscurity comes in the form of a 7-minute devastating tune named A Sky In Vain, where AF and AA create a wall of darkness with their riffs while JW switches between classic Black Metal drumming and Doom Metal-inspired beats, flowing into a melancholic and obscure ending.

If you want to take a detailed listen at The Darkness Between Stars, click HERE and enjoy this very cohesive and professional album in its entirety. Also, in order to show your true support to this skillful Swedish horde, simply visit their Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and their YouTube channel for more of their unrelenting Black Metal. And of course, purchase The Darkness Between Stars on BandCamp or on Big Cartel, letting the somber music by Ov Shadows penetrate deep inside your mind, blackening your thoughts until there’s no way back.

Best moments of the album: Disguised As Altruism and The Ritual of the Natural Flame.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Black Market Metal

Track listing
1. The Darkness Between Stars 6:58
2. Bellowing Shadows 5:40
3. The Hanged Man 6:26
4. Disguised As Altruism 5:56
5. The Ritual of the Natural Flame 7:19
6. Hordes Abiding the Narrator 5:58
7. A Sky In Vain 7:42

Band members
RA – vocals, bass
AF – guitars
AA – guitars
JW – drums