Review: “A Mother’s Curse” by Strychnos

“We are proud to finally present eight tracks of pitch-black death metal tragedy as it was always intended to be: Dark, atmospheric, brutal, and tragic!” ~ Martin Leth Andersen

The chilling motif is based on Danish sculptor Niels Hansen Jacobsen’s statue ‘Death and the Mother’ from 1892, depicting a young woman in the moment of ultimate tragedy. Jacobsen was inspired by the ending of ‘The tale of a Mother’, a story written in 1847 by famous author Hans Christian Andersen: “And Death walked with her child into the unknown land.” ~ Daniel Corcuera

Formed by bassist and vocalist Martin Leth Andersen in 1997, Strychnos is a Danish Extreme Metal band whose debut masterwork “A Mother’s Curse” is the product of a craft perfected over 25 years of toil. For the project he is joined by drummer Nis Rode Larsen and guitarist Andreas Lynge, who together have put out a demo here, a single there, made a compilation appearance and dropped an EP while members muse in other projects, always returning at the most unexpected of times.

A sinister and menacing opening cut, “Traumer” is a masterclass in Black Metal drumming from Larsen as Strychnos tear us limb from limb with a rhythmic pummelling capable of shifting  techtonic plates. A powerful start to the record, what it lacks in finesse it makes up for in blunt force truma before the hints at Death ‘n Roll swagger of “Blessed be the Bastard Reign” take us in another direction. The first solo appears in the album title track “A Mother’s Curse“, a majestic moment later followed by some Type O Negative Gothic Metal vibes as the track finishes on a truly unexpected note, even if variety is the spice of life. As if sensing that they might have pushed things too far, they flip the script entirely for “Horror Sacred Torture Divine“, which finds Andersen doing a Max Cavalera impression and the band sounding like “Beneath The Remains” era Sepultura. An arty spoken word reanimates the corpse before rolling thunder instrumental passage brings the curtain down in fine fashion.

Building smouldering atmospheres over an extended run isn’t necessarily what you might expect from a band of this nature but in “Regiments of the Betrayed” they do exactly that in masterful fashion, allowing the villagers to scream as they burn their houses to the ground. Dark, sinister and brooding it’s relentless abrasions are an unstoppable force. An album of substance, this is one that batters you into submission with its demonic growls and rhythmic pummelling while lacking a single knock out cut that would be the icing on the cake. Instead it has moments that blister and burn like the solo on “Blind Eye Epiphany” which is absolutely majestic in what is otherwise a tight and well written atmospheric Death Metal cut. “The Doppelganger Stare” brings things to a bitter ending without straying from the left hand path with a little Carcass influence gnawing at the brains as it plays out [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. Traumer
  2. Blessed be the Bastard Reign
  3. A Mother’s Curse
  4. Horror Sacred Torture Divine
  5. Regiments of the Betrayed
  6. Manus Nigra
  7. Blind Eye Epiphany
  8. The Doppelganger Stare

A Mother’s Curse” by Strychnos is out 4th November 2022 via Dark Descent Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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