Album Review – “Deathward To The Womb” by Trepaneringsritualen – Cold Spring Records

Deathward To The Womb – Trepaneringsritualen  ritual ambient/death industrial from Sweden


For the unfortunate few who are previously unaware of this incredible artist (I admit, myself included until about a week ago), Trepaneringsritualen is the vision of one man-Thomas Martin Ekelund or as he might say…he is the sole vessel.

While it’s unquestionably criminal to subject a work of this nature to labels simply for the sake of comparison, we’ll say that fans of black ambient/death industrial need to near this. This is especially so since Cold Spring Records has since re-released this previously out-of-print and important album now with the addition of a 12 min./57 sec. ritual work entitled “I Remember When I Was God.”  This track might be the single-most haunting, subterranean sounding yet captivating piece of dark ambient ritual work I have heard.

Track 1 “The Birth of Babalon” begins with the faint distorted and echoed ramblings against a minimal pulsating yet haunting soundscape…possibly suggesting an invocation.  Tracks 2 & 3 bring us further inside this sometimes drifting, sometimes further pulsating soundscape…while the vocals are virtually inaudible, they are in fact recorded at such an effective level that it draws the listener that much further in.  Track 6, “All Hail the Black Flame” finds us immersed in a dimly lit room narrated by the tortured distorted screams of the ritual leader and hearing the occasional banging of metal.  By the end of the album, if you’ve paid close enough attention (or shall I say, lost yourself in your imagination enough), you’re completely submerged in a subterranean soundscape ritual.

Those fortunate enough to travel to see a Trepaneringsritualen live show are treated to an aural and visual assault of one man’s ritualistic vision involving projected images, incense, distorted tortured vocals with his head often covered in  a cloak or blood.  In a 2016 interview with Heathen Harvest, Thomas Ekelund stated “I try to attack as many senses as possible with the intent of disorienting the audience…to put them in a state of confusion…to help them let their guard down and be dragged into those currents of irrationality and ecstasy” (HH, 2016  The rest of us should be pleased to be able to traverse the imagination with works such as Deathward To The Womb.

The lyrics to Deathward To The Womb are largely based upon the writings of FRATER T.O.P.A.N. (aka Jack Parsons) who conducted a series of rituals for the purpose of invoking the Thelemic goddess Babalon to earth.

Trepaneringsritualen’s themes often revolve around magick, religion, hidden realms of consciousness and ritual.  But what makes Trepaneringsritualen truly unique among so many is the following dichotomy;

  • 1. Thomas Ekelund views the project not as a product of his own hands.  Rather, he views himself as a bit of a vessel for this abstract concept or “spectre”called Trepaneringsritualen which forces itself upon him.
  • 2. He maintains a very down-to-earth view regarding the act of ritual-an integral part of his work.

In an 2014 Inferno Festival interview, ” He stated that ritual is  basically “anything to do that has a purpose…something you want to achieve…if it’s a state of emotion or actual magic or focusing your will at a specific task.”

So, Trepaneringsritualen is a perfect  mix of the abstract and the specific, the other-worldly and the down-to-earth, the definable and that which is never meant to be defined.

It’s no wonder that in a somewhat odd sense, Deathward To The Womb pulls you into its core on both seemingly simultaneous otherworldly and visceral levels.

You know…there was a fact not widely known about Jackson Pollock that he used to watch Indian rituals and that perhaps some of this came out in the act of creation of his drip-style paintings.  The average viewer might not know this going through a museum.  I mention this because I’m reminded of the possibility of Mr. Ekelund’s interest in ritual and down-to-earth philosophy as being part of the creation process…the part that we don’t see but have only the result to listen to.

But maybe it’s that philosophy that comes through in his work that makes us, the listeners at least for a little while, face some of the everyday things we might not rather face.  Or is it something larger than Thomas Ekelund which he so successfully allows to pass through him?


Thomas Ekelund – Trepaneringsritualen

1. The Birth Of Babalon

2. Deathward, To The Womb
3. Osiris, Slain & Risen
4. She Is Flame Of Life
5. Sacrament & Crucifixion
6. All Hail The Black Flame
19. I Remember When I Was God
CD in 6-panel digipak                                                                                                                          
LP Ltd x 500 copies with download card.

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