Album Review – Høstsol / Länge Leve Döden (2023)

A monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death in the form of dark and sinister 90’s Black Metal made in Scandinavia.

The Stygian project of Swedish vocalist Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Norwegian guitarist Cernunnus (Manes), Finnish bassist Kalmos (Barathrum), and Finnish drummer Rainer Tuominkanto (Ajattara), Scandinavian Black Metal entity Høstsol, which by the way means “autumn sun” from Swedish, has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, entitled Länge Leve Döden, or “long live death”, an album conceived and recorded by people who have been molding the sounds of all things dark since the 90’s, and you can hear that experience and unconditional dedication in every note. Mastered by the legendary Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) at Sonic Train Studios, Länge Leve Döden is, according to the band itself, “our monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death. A perfect alignment of five songs that were written during an awful, unhealthy process over the course of two years. Expect Black Metal the way it used to feel and sound back in the early nineties, and rejoice!”

An eerie intro slowly evolves into the grim and dark As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet, showcasing pensive lyrics (“A human life is worth less than nothing / So therefore I dream, night after night, / Dreams of putting an end to all materialistic desires, / And annihilate the despicable cosmic failures of the false prophet Jahve, / And through faith and fanatic devotion, crown the one true king”) and a beautiful Atmospheric Black Metal sound. Rainer sounds inhumane on drums, bringing endless heaviness to Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen), or “what once was (it will never be again)”, while Niklas vociferates beastly for our total delight during the song’s eight minutes of pure obscurity; followed by Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren, or “long live the faceless killer”, absolutely sinister from the very first second spearheaded by the vicious growls by Niklas and the always hammering beats by Rainer, not to mention the sulfurous riffs by Cernunnus. Then Gregorian chants ignite ten minutes of sheer Black Metal magic entitled Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen, or “your harvest time has now come”, where Cernunnus is unstoppable with his classic riffage supported by the rumbling bass by Kalmos, sounding infernal and majestic from start to finish. And closing the album the quartet offers us all their hellish Black Metal with hints of Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal in Parallellt Dubbelliv, or “parallel double life”, displaying a menacing ambience perfect for the demonic gnarls by Niklas.

There are several places where you can put your evil hands on Länge Leve Döden (which is by the way available in full on YouTube and on Spotify), including the band’s own Big Cartel, the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, Sound Cave (as a CD, an LP or a deluxe LP), The Sinister Initiative’s Big Cartel, Season of Mist (also as a CD or an LP), Shining Legions (yet again as a CD or an LP), or Apple Music. In addition, don’t forget to also start following such incendiary Scandinavian horde on Instagram, keeping up to date with all things Høstsol. Länge Leve Döden is indeed an amazing tribute to the Lord of Death, as the band stated, showcasing the reach and fire of Scandinavian Black Metal and, therefore, becoming the perfect soundtrack for the darkest days of our miserable lives.

Best moments of the album: Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren and Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet 9:31
2. Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen) 8:14
3. Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren 10:29
4. Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen 8:44
5. Parallellt Dubbelliv 7:32

Band members
Niklas Kvarforth – vocals
Cernunnus – guitars
Kalmos – bass
Rainer Tuomikanto – drums