Published Nov 27, 2014Metal's fantasy-inspired lyrical repertoire runs like a who's who of legendary authors: H.P. Lovecraft, Aleister Crowley, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anton LaVey, and Michael Moorcock. Those who stray, and who forge their own fantasy worlds, are far more rare.
Anguish, a young doom band of relative unknowns from Uppsala, Sweden, have done the latter, howling a handcrafted mythology on their 2012 debut Through the Archdemon's Head, which has now continued on to the brand new release, Mountain, out now on Dark Descent Records.
"[Vocalist] J. Dee pretty much made up an entire religion based on Siugnah [an anagram of the band's name] and that is more or less what he writes about in our lyrics, concerning the Chaos Judge, Ancient Ones and of course Siugnah," guitarist Christoffer Frylmark tells Exclaim! "The so-called fictional religion I speak of can be read [about] in the booklet of Through the Archdemon's Head."
He adds, "We wanted to continue on the story that you can find in the booklet. Even though Hsiugna 'died,' the acolytes of Siugnah still worship her as the deity she is. Even though her physical form got vanquished her spirit still lingers, and those who feel her presence devote their lives to her."
Therefore, the lyrics continue in a similar vein, although the music has grown by leaps and bounds. On their debut, they merged the strong melodies and speed of Candlemass with a monstrous growl, and although the songs lacked differentiation, they showed promise. Mountain fulfills that promise, bringing contrast and tempo shifts alongside massive melodies. It's heavier and the vocals are better articulated. With it, they've made one of 2014's strongest albums.
"The progress of our sound came naturally in the rehearsal room and in the writing process. We were more influenced by death metal acts like Autopsy and Asphyx and black metal bands like Mayhem this time, that might be why our latest record sounds more harsh and aggressive than Through the Archdemon's Head," says Frylmark. "We are still a doom metal band but you have got to realize that you cannot limit yourself when you create music; if you do you will probably end up as a boring copy of your favourite band."
Prolific instrumentalist Johan Ericson captured the record, and his fingerprints are audible in inventive ways.
"He had some very funny ideas. When we recorded the drums, for instance, he put a microphone in the vent outside the studio to catch a deeper, more atmospheric drum sound. We also used microphones inside the recording booth of course; otherwise our drum sound would probably be crappier than some lo-fi black metal demo from the early '90s."