Are Vanhelgd Swedens best death metal band? Many claim they are so obviously I had to visit this Temple of Phobos to see what’s special with them. The name Temple comes from a chain of religious words Vanhelgd use on their albums (Cult, Church, Relics and Temple) with Temple of Phobos being the bands fourth full-length release since their formation in 2007. Vanhelgd, being Swedish for desecrated, comes from a small village in Sweden and hardly tour. I take it that’s the main reason they are not up there with heavy hitters like Entombed, Grave or Unleashed in popularity because I am almost inclined to agree, Vanhelgd is one of Swedens best death metal acts today.
The album got a red line of death from start to finish and you don’t want to skip a single tune until the pale horse has come to take you. The mixture between Swedish and English feels just right here, for example Den Klentrognes Klagan takes my mind towards Behemoth’s wonder Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel but in Swedish. Overall I think Vanhelgd has more in common with Behemoth or black/death metal hybrids than the Swedish death metal such as Entombed just due to the atmosphere during Temple of Phobos, which is chilling and filled with horror and anti-religion. Also half the band is in King of Asgard, which was created by legendary ex-Mithotyn member Karl Beckmann, so I guess that could be an influence of the black metal sound.
I am surprised Vanhelgd has escaped my grasp for so long, even with the hype surrounding them (and my love for King of Asgard) I never stopped by to listen to an album until now. I am glad I finally got around to it though. As a Swedish death metal fan this is pure drogs for my black soul. If you’ve been like me and missed Vanhelgd then you should stop with whatever you’re doing and fix that, listen to Temple of Phobos now! If you do know of Vanhelgd then I sure hope you have visited the temple and spread it’s knowledge to the world.
Temple of Phobos is out now through Pulverised Records.
For fans of: Entombed and Behemoth
Favorite song: Den Klentrognes Klagan