Dodsmaskin – Fullstendig Brent (CD, Malignant Records)

Fullstendig Brent translates to «completely burnt»; «holocaust» in Norwegian according to the album’s interior insert, and the writing goes on to explain the ideas behind this full-length recording from Dodsmaskin. It’s meant as an interpretation of the Norwegian witch trials in the 17th century, and the five tracks offered on this album certainly do represent an aural history of that time.

The album is littered with burning sounds, from the first crackles of the opener
“Båldom” to the other tracks’ usage of static and more conventional power electronics synth rhythms to emphasize the thematic imagery of the witch trials. Dodsmaskin uses more ambient layers at first, allowing “Båldom” room to set the mournful atmosphere before “Heksetimen” breaks into a heavy power electronics lurch, the sounds of screaming women a cacophony in the background.

“Christoffer Orning” and “De Ti: 1621” sit comfortably in the middle, offering ambient sound effects like chanting throughout the opening minutes of the tracks and then breaking into a mountainous din; Dodsmaskin is comfortable crafting bleak and minimal tones, but his synth drones and physical effects, like shattering glass, add a theme of insurmountable odds to Fullstendig Brent.

Like its opening track, the album ends on a somber and mournful piano ballad with
“Dømt På Sitt Liv Til Ild Og Bål,” and thus ends a narrative told in audio from Dodsmaskin. Fullstendig Brent is a strong album even at its short running time, and anyone interested in the witch trials will definitely want to hear this soundscape of torture and terror from the 17th century.

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