One of my favorite black metal releases from the past couple years has been Skohen’s I Doden, a perfect blend of nature oriented black metal, pagan themes, and atmospherics. Based on my affection for that album I always meant to go back and hear their back catalog but it was unavailable (legally) for what seems like forever. Recently Nordvis Productions has been reissuing their earlier works on all formats and on Bandcamps ACLU Charity Day I finally picked up Skogen’s 2011 album, Svitjod.

Svitjod is similar to I Doden. It’s very melodic and emotional with subtle additions of atmospherics, mostly provided by acoustic guitars or other quieter moments. What particularly struck me about this one was the more traditional black metal drive on most of the songs. They’re still mostly mid-paced speed wise but with more of a traditional sense to them. It’s not the whole album but I feel those were some of the elements the band would later shake off in favor of a more melodic drive.

This album is beautiful, though. As you might expect they’re of course from Sweden but I think they’re part of these new Swedish bands that don’t really sound like the typical Swedish sound, but still maintain their Swedish-ness. It’s hard to articulate. It’s the melody that is still there but utilized differently. Regardless, Skogen is an incredible band and I’m eagerly awaiting a new release from them.

Get it via Nordvis through their Bandcamp page.