Ode to Obscurantism

Black Locust Solace
Cordylobia the Emasculator
Day of the Centipedes
The Unmolested
In the Pungent Mires of Aholibah

Vulnus: voice
Dracunculus: guitar
Tetrapus: bass
Hordeolum: drums

Landscapes of Diseace and Decadence(2008)



Released 28/9-2010
Reviewed 1/5-2011


I remember getting the debut from Sjodogg a couple of years ago, I reviewed it and it's been on for three years now. However, when I played 'Ode to Obscurantism', the follow up to that album, I had completely forgotten how the first one sounded - I couldn't remember more than getting the album, that I had even played it and how it sounded was nowhere near me.

At first, my thought was to play the old one again since the band had a new album available and it would be good to be able to compare the two but after playing this album from start to finish I changed my mind. I just wanted to have as little as possible to do with this band and since I'm human and not a torturer. And with torturer I mean a torturer of myself by listening to this band more than necessary.

Sjodogg is the Norwegian name of a anaplasmosis disease that's transferred by ticks (Ixodes ricinus) and like all bands taking names from obscure diseases or names correlating to other unpleasantness the band themselves are quite unpleasant to hear. Just like most bands that have their albums released at French label Osmose. It has almost became a safe warning signal to see the Osmose label on things to know the albums will have a hard time qualifying to be good enough for the garbage disposal (which apparently was something I thought back in 2008 already). A total disinfection of things like this by acid could be a good thing to have a law for, perhaps?

So, you think I'm unfair? Just complaining about Osmose and Sjodogg without any nuance or motivation? I'm just getting to that. Like most other Norwegian music in the metal genre, Sjodogg qualifies for the group of bands that tries to maintain some sort of image more than do good music. The traditional Norwegian image is to glorify some sort of core in the music that is true and evil and everything they do is to keep as close to this core as is possible, which is done through doing as little as possible when recording the music. Sounds stupid, I know - but it's true. If it were up to most Norwegian black metal bands they would record the album with instruments made from bark and grass and dirt with one single microphone placed in the centre of a root cellar and recording everything at the same time in one straight line without breaks or retakes. And with as little as possible done afterwards. Recorded on a cassette. In mono.

Despite this, Sjodogg, thankfully, has chosen a somewhat different road in recording their album. As the most common thick-translated disease in Scandinavia, they've recorded everything with a superb sound and properly in a studio with retakes and all. This makes the sound as clean and clear as a disinfected test tube with alcohol, which isn't very good for this band. Because except for this, they seem to have kept to the Norwegian black metal idea more or less by the book, which maybe isn't surprising since the Sjodogg can be traced back to the 18th century. The simple melodies and down scaled riffs and chords meet as little other instruments and sounds as possible when played and above the instruments you'll hear some sort of vocal experiments where the band seem to play a slow-motion sneeze. Either that or someone saying "Night light, night light, and my teddy bear" over and over for hundreds of times. Slowly. And this might be the most logical answer to the vocal sounds since a fever of more than 107° F that can last for up to two weeks will probably make you delirious. But... close call.

Somehow, I just feel every time I hear this kind of albums that something must be wrong with mankind, but then again - it's just to turn on the news and you'll soon see that this is far from the dumbest mankind has done. However, coming to music it might be. I just don't see the point in doing albums with some sort of distorted human sounds composed by rattling from keys and long strokes on the strings of guitars. And nothing more, almost. And what's the purpose of giving us 54 minutes with this? I just don't see why they even bother with the fancy production, since they don't have anything to give the production to. Well, at least the band thinks they have some sort of purpose since they write this about themselves: "We believe that SJODOGG has something significant to offer the fans of dark metal music around the world- the "edge" that separates us from many of our contemporaries".

This is where we don't add up. To begin with, I can't see any more purpose with Sjodogg than any other of these "dark metal music" bands in the world that don't have a clue in what the hell they're doing. You don't do music to revolutionise something or offer something to one another, the reason should always be that you, and only you, want to express something and simply put: this album isn't expressing anything, except perhaps a definition to the words "wasted debris".

Maybe I do the wrong thing when I try to listen to albums like these? Perhaps the right thing to do is just ignore them? Ignore Sjodogg, since the album is already half a year old when I write this. But I just received it and the sentence is quite short: I don't want it. I can't understand there are people that do, because to me this is just wasted in so many ways. Wasted time to create, wasted money to buy, wasted work to put on the market, wasted time to hear and wasted space in your collection. Apparently I liked the first album more, since I gave it one more H, which makes this album even more wasted - it's not even improved compared to the last. I can only say that everything Sjodogg stand for are what I'm against. This album is no exception.


Label - Osmose
Three similar bands - Bathory/Dark Funeral/Satyricon
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm