Greek metal gods Dødsferd have found the blackened muse and made it sing within them once more via this latest scrap of scorched black metal sacredness. Is it hard not to be hyperbolic about music specifically designed to grab your soul and make you feel extreme feelings? Of course. It’s made even more difficult by these merchants of the epic and depressing who’ve issued this five-song, 51-minute slathering of evil. This is a band that’s been through its share of stylistic shifts, sometimes coloring outside the lines of black metal and moving more toward traditional climes, other times sounding like the world’s angriest punk band. After all, these dudes once named an album Spitting with Hatred the Insignificance of Life. How’s that for ticked off?

Anyway, the present platter, Diseased Remnants of a Dying World (not to be confused with the Lifetime movie of the same name), is relentless in its pursuit of extremity, arriving with “My Father, My Wrath!” It’s a malevolent blast of insanity that sets the tone for what follows, including “Existence Without Purpose,” 11 full minutes of hatred, nihilism and darkened aggression with riffs that expound upon the mission of brutality with unapologetic focus.

Whereas many contemporary metal bands have lost sight of the almighty groove, dragging the music away from its highly rhythmic roots, Dødsferd get down to the business of keeping things in the pocket on the drum and bass front. No one will ever accuse this lot of swinging like a jazz quartet but the pounding and pummeling here is a textbook example of how feel can make or break a song, regardless of genre. The same may be said for the lead guitar lines, which owe as much to Pink Floyd as they do anything that’s crawled from the murky, evil swamp of black metal since its dawn.

By the third track, the titular piece arrives, and we find ourselves embracing a distinct world and vision. The harrowing vocals and thoroughly thoughtful dynamics are often as frightening as they are enticing, keeping the listener on the edge of his/her throne, waiting for what splash of fire and brimstone will next arrive. At 16 minutes, the piece stretches beyond the realm of ambitious, taking us to the brink of tolerance and attention, but proving itself worthy of the time with each passing note.

“Loyal to the Black Oath,” the penultimate tune, may be one of the more accessible moments on the record, brimming with moments of more conventional metal riffing while betraying none of the patented Dødsferd intensity. If one were to look for one song to exemplify this outfit’s greatness, this would probably be it. At nine-and-a-half minutes, one cannot say that there’s a breath wasted, the ending coming seemingly just a few moments after the start.

Is it possible that this unit has made the album of its career with Diseased Remnants of a Dying World? Quite possibly. It’s arguably the most cohesive and imaginative of Dødsferd records to date and one that sets a new bar in the world of extreme metal. That’s impressive on a number of fronts, especially coming from a group this deep into its career, when it often seems that templates have been set and invigoration and invention have become things of the past.

Extreme metal stalwarts will definitely embrace this recording while those who are just breaking into the genre for the first time might take great solace in having a release this fine to welcome into the miserable circles of hell (Okay, really, musical ecstasy but it’s important not to break character) that await.

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