Doppelsöldner - The Trophy Bohemia (Pseudocorp)

Doppelsöldner's The Trophy Bohemia answers a question that I don’t think anyone was really asking: ‘What if dungeon-synth dweebs turned to brutal slam for inspiration?’ I wrote two months ago about the comfortable (and arguably complacent) symbiosis between oubliette-dwelling MIDI artists and their kvlt compatriots in ‘raw’ black metal (BM). With this crafty collage of a demo, Isengrim, Lord Tyrant, and Hieronymous bring in clippings of the downtuned guitars and garbage-disposal vocals that have long defined brutal death metal (BDM) bands, from Cryptopsy to Incinerated. You’d think blood and guts would drown out the synthy whimsy of this “medieval mercenary metal trio,” but Doppelsöldner know how to steep, stir, and let the gore whorl about in the punch bowl. The opener cycles through fast-paced garage BM, textbook slam breakdowns, and Age of Empires battle doots—and somehow leaves you wondering why no one ever thought to mix all that together before. Hardo brootalists will find a few shifty time signatures to their liking, but Doppelsöldner don’t give the impression that they’re shedding their LARPy armor. Aside from the scratchy mix, certain details attest to an understanding of what separates the wheat from the chaff in Bandcamp’s farm system for ‘raw’ BM. The cymbal work on the title track and vocal delivery on “Trench Knight” hit like ear candy, and glistening beneath it all are some “ruddy mysterious” synths, whose flashes of triumphant sentimentality recall Angelo Badalementi as much as they do Summoning. More than ornamentation, these goofy electronics are the glue that holds Doppelsöldner’s dungeon-slam experiment together. For all their knuckle dragging, BDM’s cavepeople never denied themselves a synth interlude—or a chuckle. Though The Trophy Bohemia wouldn’t hold up at one of their subterranean ragers, it may charm a few into attending the next game night.