AMN Reviews: Beckahesten – Tydor (2021; Cyclic Law)

Swedish trio Beckhesten (Peo Bengtsson, Per Åhlund, and Viktoria Rolandsdotter) lurks in the gray area between Northern European horror-folk and dark ambient music. Deep, menacing drones are coupled with foggy, horn-like synths and martial percussion. Over this, Rolandsdotter speaks, sings, and chants expressively, while her bandmates provide occasional background gutteralisms in the form of throat singing.

While vocals are an important aspect of the Beckahesten mix, they are not a song-oriented outfit. The nine tracks on Tydor also include lengthy instrumental passages, with dark atmospherics, found object noises, and field recordings. Having said that, there is a strangely appealing lilt to the vocal melodies, Rolandsdotter in particular. They are catchy in a haunting and melancholy sense.

These pieces move at a deliberate pace, further reinforcing their primeval feel. Whether evocative of ancient forests, dripping caves, or unspeakable nightmares, Tydor is a beautifully written and performed album.