The Deepening


“The Deepening” will leave hoarfrost on your turntable and summon all varieties of unholy entities . . . like existential musings and cosmic fear.
March 18, 2024

When I lived in the DC area in the late 80’s we were beset upon by a season of cicadas. These locust-like insects spend their lives underground and emerge about every 15 years. It was like millions of mini Xenomorphs just appeared, only they didn’t eat anyone. Instead, they made a sickening crunch sound when you stepped on them—which everyone did because they were everywhere—and they were hard as fuck to get out of your hair—which made for some interesting traffic moments as people bailed their cars screaming in terror and swatting at their heads. Not unlike these lurking insectoids, VEMOD, an Atmospheric Black Metal band out of Norway, released their sophomore full-length album, “The Deepening,” a good 12 years after their debut album.

Unlike cicadas, the return of VEMOD and the advent of their latest album is a welcomed phenomenon. “The Deepening” is a stunning piece of Atmospheric Black Metal that will leave hoarfrost on your turntable and summon all varieties of unholy entities . . . like existential musings and cosmic fear.  The album is 49 minutes of melodic hellscape—gloriously distorted tremolo, muddied but overpowering drums, bass that would make Geddy Lee weep, and foreground vocals that shift from clean to demonic accompanied by backing vocals wafting like waves of darkness.

Consider also, there are only six tracks on this album. Two of those tracks are 90 seconds long—one instrumental, one choral. So really only four tracks to sink your teeth into. The only fault of this album is its brevity—contrasted with the ocean of time since the last album. If scarcity drives demand, the gates of hell should be swinging on shattered hinges with this release.

The album starts off gently with “Mot oss en ild” (trans: Against us, a fire), a one-minute acoustic intro that is more ambient than melodic. Great scene setter. The second track, “Der guder dør” (trans: where gods die) is an epic, multi-movement piece which at first swells in dour melancholy before dropping off the edge into the ether. Once afloat we’re rallied by a militaristic snare which is then itself subsumed by a curious arrangement blending explorative guitar work, an entrancing bass line, and a distant wandering of choral vocals. In the last minute everything falls away except the vocals which have edged closer, becoming more singular but somehow remaining aloof.

“True North Beckons,” the third track, comes in at over nine minutes and is one of the strong standouts. The first six minutes carry on from the previous track—melodic and compelling—but then a seismic shift occurs. We’re not talking a slight swing in phrasing but rather a complete stripping down and then rebuilding. Following is the second short acoustic track, Fra drømmenes bok I(trans: From the Book of Dreams I). More aeriform ambience here which then transitions into another standout track, “Inn i lysende natt” (trans: Into luminous night). This track feels like an instrumental but somewhere in the snowdrifts there are four lines of lyrics. Find them if you can.

Closing the album is the title track, “The Deepening.” At 16 minutes this extensive track is an EP unto itself. It even packs in its own three-minute outro. This track reminded me of the end of 2001: A Space Odessey or the house in The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski—it seems preternaturally bigger than itself. Capturing the essence of the entire album, E. Blix intones: “Enigma euphoria eudaimonia.” Yeah, I had to look up that last word too but when I did, it just fit. Grand stuff, this one.

Me and the cicadas will patiently be waiting in the underground for VEMOD’s third offering. In the meanwhile, we have “The Deepening” to darken our nights and despoil our souls. Join us.  


9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"The Deepening" Track-listing:


1. Mot oss, en ild       

2. Der guder dør

3. True North Beckons

4. Fra drømmenes bok I

5. Inn i lysende natt

6. The Deepening


Vemod Lineup:

E. Kalstad – Bass

J.E. Åsli – Guitars, bass

E. Blix – Vocals, drums (studio), guitars (live)


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