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Bergraven - Det Framlidna Minnet

Bergraven
Det framlidna minnet
by Martin Knap at 11 March 2019, 9:59 PM

BERGRAVEN are a Swedish Experimental Black Metal band that follows the footsteps of pioneering Avant-garde Black Metal bands that started in the early 1990s like VED BUENS ENDE, FLEURETY, or DODHEIMSGARD (the first two mentioned made a comeback recently, don’t miss out). Also fans of VIRUS and ORRANSI PAZUZU will be in familiar waters. If you know any of these bands you know a little bit what to expect: dark, weird, psychedelic soundscapes, some Black Metal harshness, and of course saxophones.

BERGRAVEN don’t play balls to the wall Black Metal, sections with fast guitar picking and blast beats are sporadic, but when they come they feel like a violent outburst. The songs have melancholic, meandering sections with interesting textures, dreamy melodies that create a trippy atmosphere. The music is not soft though: apart from the quasi Black Metal riffage and harsh vocals, there are sections with heavy, groovy, driving riffs and screamed vocals that at times can be reminiscent of the deranged vocal style of SHINING’s Niklas Kvarforth. Compositionally the songs are pretty wild, sometimes one section subtly flows into another, sometimes there are sudden compositional shifts, but the songs don’t collapse under their own weight. In other words, the band can write material that is progressive and pretty “out there”, but knows how to restrict themselves and make the songs work as a coherent whole.

The album is over 50 minutes long and most of the songs are longer than eight minutes (the shortest song is just bellow six minutes long). This is obviously not a hook-driven kind of music, so there aren’t any obvious highlights, but each song has enough interesting musical ideas that will keep you engaged. “Allt” opens with a melancholic, noodly riff after which comes a pretty harsh verse. The intro is intricately layered, with drawn out vibraphone sounds and flutes and soft spoken word, but the harsh part is carried mainly by the riffs and vocals. The song gets eventually back to the opening phrase, followed by a mellow instrumental section that feels pretty jazzy – it’s really inticate and showcases the musical chops that the band has. In the last part we have an interplay of a saxophone with a heavy, angular riff and of course some harsh screams. Almost all songs have these intricate parts with intertwining melodies, like the main motif in “Minnets Melankoli” that has two intertwining guitar melodies backed by eerie vibraphone. I also love the proper Jazz/Experimental parts that are thrown here and there, for example in “Till Priset Av Vårt Liv”.

Overall, I’m really impressed by this release. I liked last year’s album of BERGRAVEN’s associated Black Metal project STILLA, and this album has many of its qualities. The music has atmosphere, texture and depth, but is also heavy and riff-oriented. The album is packed with great musical ideas that are very well executed. The long years since their last album have born good fruit.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Minnesgåva
2. Allt
3. Den följsamma plågan
4. Minnets melankoli
5. Leendet av hans verk
6. Den dödes stigar
7. Till priset av vårt liv
8. Eftermäle
Lineup:
Pär Stille Bass – Vocals, Guitars
Andreas Johansson – Bass
J. Marklund – Drums
Record Label: Nordvis
     


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Edited 26 March 2019
 

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