Relics of Sulphur Salvation
Pulverised Records always has the penchant to sign some of the most surprising old school Swedish death metal bands, and the latest band to put out new material under their roster is Vanhelgd with their third full length album, Relics of Sulphur Salvation.
The band kicks off with Dödens Maskätna Anlete and unlike the recent wave of old school Swedish death metal, Vanhelgd takes a somewhat more melodic and melancholic route. While the buzzsaw tone that is so typical of Swedish bands are still present, Vanhelgd takes a more death/doom approach on their opening track, and the lead guitar lines of Mattias Frisk and Jimmy Johansson easily remind one of the earliest works of the more melancholic death metal bands such as Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride.
But things get kicked up a notch as soon as The Salt in My Hands begin, and fans of Swedish death metal as we know it will rejoice. The abrasive tone, along with the riffs that Frisk and Johansson unleash quickly remind one of the works of bands such as Dismember and Grave. There are even moments of Gothenburg influences of bands like Amon Amarth as well, especially in the heavy usage of trem-picking for most of the tracks.
The darker, and more sinister trem-picked sections even brings in some resemblance to bands like Watain and their later, heavy-metal influenced works. The desolation present on the album is also made even clearer as Frisk and Johansson alternate between vocal duties, with each providing a different range of growls, from one that is aggressive and belligerent to one that registers a higher pitch and of a more desperate tone. The alternating vocals works especially well on slower and heavier tracks such as Where All Flesh is Soil.
The heavy mood and path that Vanhelgd has taken on Relics of Sulphur Starvation has worked extremely well for the band, and stands out from the plethora of Entombed-clones now. Relics of Sulphur Starvation is definitely a satisfying release.