This sweet little debut is certainly not one for the feint hearted, as Swedish newcomers Vandöd bring their own Doom-laden brand of Black Metal to English shores. Dark, angry and as heavy as Dawn French’s Christmas dinner, ‘As’ manages to pretty much sum up everything that’s healthy about the current extreme music scene without expanding their sound beyond the confines of the genre. Despite this however, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few surprises along the way.

The album starts things off with a run of songs that are about as straightforward as you can get in this unforgiving music style. There is little in the way of Nifelheim’s old school Maiden influences shining through, or a commercially-minded female-led track as one Dani Filth is rather fond of. It’s fast drumming, vicious growling and shuddering guitars all the way, with a Doomy underbelly that only increases the despairing atmosphere. With Swedish lyrics and no sign of any clean vocals until fifth track ‘The Bastard King’, there are few who are not deeply supportive of Black Metal that will enjoy this record, though a brass-led instrumental in ‘Rio’ provides an interesting distraction by anyone’s standards.

If you want cheap and cheery music this winter, go and stick on City Sleeps. If, however, you are willing to let things get nasty in the most basic and familiar way possible, then Vandöd are perhaps the lads to lead the way. They do little to challenge the conventions of Black Metal, but what they can do is create decent, brutal music, and if that’s not quite your thing, then there’s at least some reasonable room for an air-horn solo.

Reviewed by Merlin Alderslade