[Reviewed by stark]
After first acquaintance with this name, the moniker and the info about the project I couldn’t escape the impression that “Fullstendig Brent” would be an album filled with extreme metal of some sort. You know, simple associations, Dødsmaskin – Dodheimsgard or “Dead Skin Mask”. Obviously that couldn’t be true as conceptually Malignant Records deals with other musical genres, even though sometimes sharing similar atmospheres and emotions. So these stylistic paths cross each other every now and then. And this is one of those albums. Made without drums, guitars or growling vocals, but characterized by a haunting aura similar to some of the best black metal acts. Often even surpassing them in its intensity.
Dødsmaskin is a duo from Norway and “Fullstendig Brent” is their debut, although I’m quite sure that both guys, Kjetil and Peter, are rather experienced musicians, because their compositional skills and the ability to build the proper mood and the dramatic tension of this CD cannot be a mere coincidence. The concept of the album is based on the 17th century witch trials in Norway. In my opinion, it is quite an accurate aural reflection of these dark times, events and ways of thinking about those people.
What I find the most interesting on “Fullstendig Brent” is how they balance the death industrial harshness with atmospheric ambient poignancy, without the impression of disturbing the dynamics or the overall feeling of the album. Most projects focus on one aspect – the horror or the melancholia. Here you have both in perfect equilibrium. Not many are able to achieve this kind of stability where you don’t sense that the whole structure lacks solid foundations and may collapse at any minute.
Because of the aforementioned witch hunt theme, within the space of the whole album you’ll find the sounds of burning stakes and crying women. They accompany the grinding death industrial (really, “Christoffer Orning” sounds like a missing link between Satan Jugend I and II by Mz.412). It’s like the angry, maniacal, screaming mob watching the alleged witches on the stake. And on the other side of the scale, there are tracks like “Båldom” or “Dømt På Sitt Liv Til Ild Og Bål” with mournful segments, where you can substantially feel the tragedy of these poor women, often young girls with their whole lives ahead of them.
With all its cinematic and illustrative attributes, this Dødsmaskin debut album cannot be described as a simple soundtrack. Not only does it illustrate the story, but in fact it is the story itself with all the tension and emotion. It will make you angry, frightened, touched and sad. Not many artists are able to achieve this kind of impact on the listener.