Grá – Helfärd
Gra purvey a traditional style of Swedish Black Metal. In a scene rammed full of mediocre bands trying the very same thing it takes something special or different to stand out from the masses.
It took me a while to figure out why this EP did but I realised it is because Gra intentionally play basic and medium pace Black Metal that is well within their sphere of talent as opposed to those who try their utmost to be so much more and loose their way in doing so.
The first of four begins with a strange sample then pounds out with a nicely morose and depressing riff which, before long, accelerates and the cold-sounding guitars are accompanied by equally frosty vocals.
Then ‘A coin for Charon’ bellows out a superbly nasty riff, expertly weighted and delivered with an old school gusto. It goes into above mentioned basic and medium pace for the bulk of the song. That’s not to say it loses anything though because they remain raw, especially the vocals which have some agony-laced screaming. To keep the laws of tradition alive Gra return to the initial riff to close the track.
Next is the six minute thumping dirge of ‘Klagan och Längtan’ which has a haunting riff that echoes eerily contrasted with quicker sections and shows that Gra craft their stuff really well and once again goes to show that you don’t have to play ultra fast or technical to unleash cold harsh sounds.
Finally the title track looms menacingly. It’s staccato guitars and slow regimental percussion casting a gloomy fog over your ears. It feels distant yet hateful, like a vivid dream of murder. The frequent changes of tempo add a sporadic lunacy and the singing contributes some disturbing atmosphere.
This EP took me by surprise as it is one of the most consistent I have heard recently. The four songs total 22 minutes but represent pure value for your coin because of the sheer skill Gra apply. I highly recommend this, keep your ears peeled for this band in the next few years as I am certain they’ll be right at the spearhead of the latest wave of underground assault.