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Galar – De Gjenlevende

De Gjenlevende
by Erika Kuenstler at 01 March 2015, 11:31 AM

Norwegian Black/Folk Metal band GALAR are back with their third full-length album “De Gjenlevende”, which is due for release mid-March. Paying tribute to their Norse heritage, this album (the name of which roughly translates to “the survivors”) is yet another masterpiece to add to GALAR’s already impressive discography.

Starting off with the title track “De Gjenlevende”, the album opens up with a lulling melody that slowly starts to unfold, blossoming into a vast and cavernous yet hauntingly beautiful descant that immediately grabs you and sucks you in. This melds into the faster-paced “Natt … og taust et forglemt liv”, a resounding melody that sweeps you away in a torrential flood of frozen riffs and relentless drumming. Then, just as you think that you start to get a feel for the album, the instrumental track “Ljós” turns things around again, adding completely new dimensions to the album with bassoon and piano sections. As with much of the rest of “De Gjenlevende”, the majority of this song revolves around contrasts: light versus dark, and sepulchre murkiness versus delicately ethereal passages. However, this brief respite only makes the onslaught of “Gjeternes tunge steg” that much more devastating, completely sweeping you off your feet. The final track “Tusen kall til solsang ny” is strongly bass-driven, and sees the more Norse elements truly coming to life, complete with soul searing guitar solos. This eventually fades away into similar soporific harmonies that were found in the opening, thereby bringing the album round full circle. Despite there only being six songs on this album, it nevertheless clocks in at over 50 minutes, considerably longer than the average song length in the predecessor “Til alle heimsens endar”.

This album seems to have it all, from ranging majestic piano melodies all the way down to frostbitten relentlessly cold riffs, from choral passages to bloodcurdling screeches. It’s a varied rollercoaster of a ride throughout, drawing on a myriad of influences and inspirations. One thing that can definitely be said for “De Gjelevende” is that it is an album that stays with you: it’s not one that you forget about once the album has played out. It has managed to strike a perfect balance between Folk-influenced melodies without sacrificing any of the raw darkness of Black Metal. The production work is also well done, although some overly rough edges still remain. But given that this is Black Metal, that’s not necessarily a downside. Moreover, each layer acts as a perfect counterweight to the ones before it, with each serving to complement the others. All-in-all, definitely a strong release.

If you’re a fan of bands like BORKNAGAR or VINTERSORG, this is definitely something that should be up your alley in particular, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this album features on a lot of “Best of 2015” lists at the end of the year.

4 Star Rating

1. De gjenlevende
2. Natt … og taust et forglemt liv
3. Bøkens hymne
4. Ljós
5. Gjeternes tunge steg
6. Tusen kall til solsang ny
M. Kristiansen – Screams, guitars, bass
A. B. Lauritzen – Clean vocals, bassoon, grand piano
T. Myklebust – Drums
Record Label: Dark Essence Records


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