Twenty years from now, purveyors of heavy music will talk about Sweden’s Christoffer Öster in tones currently reserved for folks like Chuck Schuldiner and Quorthon. Öster’s old project, Totem Skin, emerged in 2012 playing a perfect fusion of D-beat, Gothenburg-style death metal, and post-black metal that may provide the blueprint for a new wave of underground classics and a thousand lesser imitators. Öster released two EPs and two full-lengths as Totem Skin between 2012 and 2015, before officially sunsetting the operation in 2017. The band’s in-progress third LP, it was announced, would be released under a different name. The name of the new project was Dödsrit, and the outfit’s self-titled debut album was released at the tail end of 2017, too late for me to consider it for my list of that year’s best music.
If I had considered it, Dödsrit would have been a lock. That record didn’t just live up to Totem Skin’s legacy, it explored all that band’s promises and possibilities and expanded upon them, setting a whole new bar for everything that might arrive in its wake.
The second Dödsrit album is set to arrive next month, and the first taste is here now, fresh out the oven and hot enough to sear flesh. Thew new LP is titled Spirit Crusher, and the lead single is called “Aura.” Its length is Cascadian, but its flame-throwing ferocity and thematic focus derives from old-fashioned crust and Kreator-school thrash. Says Öster:
Sadly fascism is becoming more popular in Sweden and in other parts of the world as well. Things become scary when there is an “us and them” mentality. And this is something I reflect lyric-wise.
People, please listen to the song and make sure to take notes, because this is how it’s done.
Spirit Crusher is out 9/28 via Prosthetic. Pre-order it here.