The word “nasty” gets tossed around a little too much when it comes to describing death metal. I’m guilty of this, contributing to the gradual diminishment of the word’s meaning and the lessening of its impact. The word should be saved for the albums that are truly gross, and kept behind a glass case, only to be broken in the event of a death metal emergency. And Mylingar’s sophomore album Döda Drömmar? Well it’s one nasty piece of work.
Death metal has existed for roughly thirty years, and by now the envelope has been pushed just about as far as it can be without being stamped and mailed. It’s been a long-ass time since I’ve heard a death metal album that’s made me say “Jesus fucking Christ.” That’s why I see Döda Drömmar as such a treasure. In 2018 it takes some seriously icky shit to genuinely shock me, and this album made me gasp quite a few times.
Mylingar are complete strangers to everything that makes music accessible. Hooks? Nope. Melody? Never met her. Choruses? You kidding me? On Döda Drömmar there is only death, and it’s hungry. The bulk of the album is made up of discordant death metal and grindcore riffs, but every once in a while, they’ll throw a cold wave of tremolos at you to keep you on your toes amidst the volcanic deluge of filthy guitar licks. The drumming is just as unpredictable. Every so often the drummer will just decide “we’re gonna play a new rhythm now,” and all of a sudden the whole song shifts. It’s a fun dynamic, and it’s done in a refreshingly sloppy way. In an age where bands strive to be as technically proficient as possible, it’s so nice to hear an album come so close to slipping off the rails completely.
But the most endearing quality this album has going for it are easily the vocals. You’ll always see people describe death metal vocals as “inhuman,” but the fucking noises coming out of the individual behind the microphone on Döda Drömmar do not sound like they were produced by human vocal chords. I don’t know who the vocalist is (the band members keep their identities secret, and the lineup tab on Encyclopedia Metallum literally says “none”), but god damn I hope I never meet him. He coughs, vomits and gurgles his way through the record, leaving his disgusting, wet fingerprints on each song. Near the beginning of the song “Borjan” he very loudly spits on the microphone. If that hasn’t sold you, I don’t think there’s anything I can say that will.
In 2018, bands like Mylingar should be the death metal paradigm, not the outliers. They reject pristine production, they laugh in the face of chugging breakdowns, and spit at masturbatory technical noodling. Every awful trend that infects modern death metal has been carved out like a tumour, revealing the disgusting, black rot underneath, and that’s exactly what death metal should be: really fucking gross. You’ll never catch these guys on the Summer Slaughter tour, and that’s just about the highest praise you could possibly give to a death metal band at this point.
You can order Döda Drömmar from the Amor Fati webstore.