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Dautha : Brethren Of The Black Soil

Dautha's debut full-length delivers a powerful and authentic Epic/Trad experience with an emphasis on vast and convincing soundscapes...

'Brethren Of The Black Soil' sees Sweden's Dautha release their debut full length album, following on from 2016's demo, 'Den forste'. It's a well packaged and presented album featuring some striking artwork and (if purchased in cd format) a full lyric sheet. The band's name comes from the ancient Norse word for 'dead' or 'death', and the ancient world heavily influences the album in many ways. Many of the songs are inspired by historic figures or cultures, and amongst the Epic Doom sound of this excellent debut, mediaeval influences can be heard. Violin features heavily on several tracks, adding a folky element to the album, and 'The Children's Crusade' even features the eerie sound of a children's choir. If there's one thing 'Brethren Of The Black Soil' is not lacking, it's content: there's a lot going on here.

The album gets off to a powerful start with 'Hodie Mihi, Cras Tibi' (a Latin expression commonly carved into gravestones meaning 'Today it's me, tomorrow it will be you'), which begins with a strong Trad Doom riff and passionate vocals, and takes an interesting folky turn thanks to Asa Eriksson-Warnberg's atmospheric violin parts. Interestingly, it's a song written from the perspective of the dead encouraging those of us still to depart this coil to make the most of the time we have here before we join them. Pretty decent advice, I'm sure you'll agree; and quality output like 'Brethren Of The Black Soil' will certainly contribute to helping those of us of a Doom persuasion do just that.

The title track follows, clocking in at almost 16 epic, ear shattering minutes. Written from the perspective of a dead serf railing against those, also now dead, who repressed and exploited him in life ("I went stooping and humble through my life/ nothing but dirt in mighty eyes") and highlighting the equalising power of death on all humanity. Certainly, an interesting and thoughtful premise, especially in these times of increasing division, fear and hatred. A weighty concept for a song, and fortunately, it's supported by some powerful musical performances to create a stirring ode to the downtrodden and repressed. Featuring a slow tempo, malevolent riff, melancholy violin parts and full-blown Folk Metal interludes, it's a well-crafted epic track that tells an interesting and affecting story both musically and lyrically.

In truth, every track on the album is powerfully delivered and tells an interesting and thought-provoking story. There's more content in the 6 songs on 'Brethren Of The Black Soil' than many bands manage in their entire careers, in fact. And it kicks some serious arse at times, too; 'Maximus Thrax' (a Roman Emperor who rose from lowly farm boy to the most powerful man on Earth, and spent his life as a champion of the poor) is laced with swaggering testosterone and features a crunching, imperious riff befitting a Roman Emperor who was reputedly around 2.5 metres tall with rippling muscles and a temper to match his gargantuan stature.

Dautha have produced an assured debut that provides a deep, satisfying Epic Folk Doom experience that delivers from the opening track to the ominous closing passages of 'Bogbodies', an ode to the mummified dead found in bogs all over Northern Europe (one can be seen in the British Museum in London for interested UK readers). History, Doom, Folk and riffs; what's not to like? Turn it on, turn it up, and lose yourself in its vast soundscapes of antiquity.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Hodie Mihi, Cras Tibi
2. Brethren of the Black Soil
3. Maximinus Thrax
4. The Children's Crusade
5. In Between Two Floods
6. Bogbodies

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Dautha bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-10-29 by Nick Harkins
Rotten Copper
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