STRYCHNOS “A Mother’s Curse”

By Dr. Abner Mality

An unheralded center of European extreme metal has to be Denmark. Many great bands have emerged from there. For some reason, I’ve never heard of STRYCHNOS before, even though one of my former Wormwood writers was a Danish metal fanatic who kept me in the know. Making it even more amazing is that this band has been around for a mind-blowing 25 years and contains Martin Leth Andersen of UNDERGANG!

STRYCHNOS is pretty close to the doom/death tag. They play mostly medium paced to slow crushing death metal with a super dark and claustrophobic character. When they do hit the gas, it’s all the more devastating because speed is used judiciously. And although there's a member of UNDERGANG in STRYCHNOS, these guys don’t have the ultra-putrid rotten sound of the former band. The sound on “A Mother’s Curse” is very clear and powerful, with none of the low-fi sickness of UNDERGANG. For all that, this is still a super heavy and relentless record.

The template is established right off the bat with “Traumer” and doesn’t deviate for the rest of the album. It’s just wave after wave of deliberately paced bone-crushing riffage with agonized vocals and a slightly blackened touch. If you put me on the spot to name standout songs, I’d say “Horror Sacred Torture Divine” ...just the thing to lift your spirits...sums up all of STRYCHNOS’ sound. “Regiment of the Betrayed” features some truly monstrous riffs, especially when it speeds up at the end. Just an evil, brutal slab of metal extremity.

After 25 years of almost total obscurity outside of Denmark, it’s time to give STRYCHNOS some of the respect they’ve earned.