Henrik Nordvargr Björkk should need no introduction to regular ID:UD readers, regardless of which project’s rubric he’s working under at any given moment. Committed fans of the Swedish maestro are likely aware, however, that his eponymous work has been delving into metaphysical and kabbalistic subjects with increasing depth and complexity. Regardless of subject matter, though, Nordvargr isn’t straying far from the clattering dread he’s always able to conjure musically, and new LP Daath finds new ways of continuing that mood.
It’s easy enough to recognize Daath as a continuation of the style staked out on preceding LP Metempyschosis. Percussion which oscillates from the solemnly ritualistic to the martially bombastic is given plenty of room to echo amidst pads and field recordings, while Björkk himself rages and holds court amidst clanging spasms of noise. It still falls clearly within the death industrial milieu, but Daath pushes the boundaries of the genre (which Björkk himself helped to establish) even further than Metempsychosis. There’s an earthy texture to the record that disavows impassive mechanics, and stresses living, breathing instrumentation and concerns. This can take the form of steady but fully human bass on “The Horsemen Ride Out On Foaming Steeds” which points to doom metal, or gurgling subterranean voices on “Where There Is Word There Is Enlightenment”.
Images of dynasties, conquest, and lineages run through the larger kabbalistic theme of Daath, sometimes literally and historically, sometimes far more subtly. The examinations of truth and loyalty (be it military or religious) on “The Light Of The Lord And The Black Sun Behind The Sun” hold power regardless of your familiarity with the texts and traditions in which the record is invested. Elsewhere, Björkk attempts to metaphysically square the sexual circle on “As King, As Queen – When Kingdom Collide”, where Luciferian logic is used to justify ungodly hanky-panky in a rhetorical move that’d make John Donne proud.
It’s perhaps not surprising that the distinctions between Björkk’s innumerable projects are becoming more and more difficult to make. Beyond the sheer volume of work he’s releasing of late, records like Daath show just how omnivorous Björkk is, taking in influence from a wide range of fields, but invariably mastering and shaping them into his own focused blasts of rage and rumination.