Review: Bogwife ‘A Passage Divine’

Formed in 2018 in the city of Aalborg in Denmark, Bogwife – named after a mythical, swamp dwelling creature from Scandinavian folklore – is a Danish quartet experimenting with elements of doom, stoner rock and psychedelia. Following their 2020 debut album Halls Of Rebirth the band pushed ahead and recorded their second full-length titled A Passage Divine with Jacob Bredahl at Dead Rat Studio in the spring of 2021.

Bogwife ‘A Passage Divine’

‘For us, A Passage Divine is a natural continuation of what we began exploring on our last record, both in terms of our musical development and how we write and compose lyrics,’ sayeth the band. ‘Lyrically, all the songs revolve around the bog and the significance the bog had mythologically in the Iron Age in Europe. Whereas musically, it all just felt ‘right’ instead of us putting pressure on ourselves to achieve a specific goal or structure.’

A Passage Divine opens with The Approach, the drum beats lurching and bass guitar lunging fore and aft as the doom according to Bogwife is told, slow and with yummy eat-a-peach fuzz guitar. The tempo here is forcibly restrained letting every note razor hang fire while drummer Jonathan Rosendahl Iverson telegraphs in his cyclone force S.O.S. rhythms that keep the grinding galleon track onward tacking to the bog-fuzz holy land. Turn this track up mates! There’s nowhere to hide… Restoration is an instantly head-banging and horns-up awesome tune, that if it were to be spilled out on a parking lot, it would be used as a monster truck course, a musical muck piled high with thick and sticky riffs rolled in organic guitar studio production and smoked with the reverb-delay, ya tis dér mon.

instantly head-banging and horns-up awesome…

Voxxer Mikkel Munk Iverson picks his howling melody deftly and lands somewhere between Judas Priest and Black Sabbath melodic lore with a bawling Little Richard vocal, while phased guitar swings us round by the fuzzy danglers, clamped by an operatic molasses tarpit bear trap. Yea-uh! You must accept what you are, a grain of sand in this world…  Among The Trees ploughs on with stump pulling 4×4 granny gear bottom-end bass torque and believe me, granny moved slow but like the doom music, nice and loud – she did. Introspect and indulgent leitmotif guitar phrases punctuate these songs in all the right places. Today is the day the child has come… Descent ends this release with a pensive restraint that leans the music into a roundabout trudge. No surprises here except the patience in building the song’s groove is taken to doper bliss extreme, if you can imagine the Melvins played at 16 RPM on a turntable … turntable? By Jove, what’s that?

These music styles of stoner, doom and sludge have various sonic stampings that differentiate themselves to each listener. They are not boxes strictly ticked off according to genre attributes, as in the rhythms of Latin music where a salsa song and a merengue song differ in slight but absolute precise syncopation iterations that transform their stylings. Doom can be a strictly slow and dreary dirge, stoner music can be a groovy gooey gravy and psychedelia a mind bending hodgepodge of anything left or right of Pop’s 4/4 center. Devotees of these genres and sub-genres can be as enlightened as they want to describe this musique célébrée, but one thing the electric doom genre usually has in common is that bell-bottom pants-flapping fuzz soaking you to the bone marrow, man… and Bogwife does that in spades.

A Passage Divine is a lovely effort that reminds me of the sonic dynamite detonation of Kadavar from Berlin, a band that you gotta see and feel while they lay down the groove. The mix and the master on this disc is awesome and will re-arrange your neurons at volume. This brand-new album by Bogwife has a release date of today, September 17th, 2021 through Majestic Mountain Records. Have a listen and tell me what you think, I sho nuff dig it … and so it is my Brothers and Sisters.

Label: Majestic Mountain Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Dani Bandolier