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Grafvitnir - Obeisance to a Witch Moon

Grafvitnir
Obeisance to a Witch Moon
by Lauren Fonto at 11 March 2017, 7:41 PM

GRAFVITNIR describe themselves as a “Scandinavian Occult Black Metal constellation from the dark forests of Sweden”. Their mission statement is “…\[T]o act as a herald for the Chaosophical tradition of dark, forbidden fruits”. While those of us who are unitiated in such things may not fully comprehend all the references, perhaps we can still connect with and appreciate dark beauty.

“Lightbringer” sets the scene with the sounds of a storm and a crusty opening riff. The toms have a resonance to them, and the mid-tempo pace builds tension steadily. The vocals on “The Great Beast” have an inhuman quality, like they are a stinging rain. There are subtle guitar counter-melodies, which give depth to the seemingly simple musical arrangements. This is also an album that doesn’t relent, with frenzied tremolo picking and blast-beats done throughout. GRAFVITNIR doesn’t try to be brutal for the sake of it, however – there is a calculated quality to the music. This quality also shows up in their lyrical content, which, as hinted at above, focuses on occult esoterica.

The faster-paced “Nigrum Ignis Serpentem” was one of the album highlights for me. The vocals retain their inhuman quality, but this time take on a serpent-like sound themselves, with a sinister, hiss-like sound. Reverb is used to great effect on the vocals here. While other black metal bands have tried to achieve an inhuman vocal sound, the vocalist here captures that quality so well. There are some well-written riffs to be had on tracks such as “Via Dolorosa” and “Serpent’s Blood”. Most of the songs are well-written overall; the musicians play with various tempos and musical variations in order to build or release tension.

“Legion of the Serpent” builds up tension yet again, in anticipation of the album’s climax. The darker tone hints at a monumental event to come. The storm breaks on “Obeisance to a Witch Moon” with the riffs and drums threatening to blow away the listener. The powerful chorus and cold atmosphere heighten the gravitas of this last scene.

Elaborate songwriting isn’t always necessary to produce a good album, and GRAFVITNIR is a good example of this. This is a sleek and aggressive beast, spawned by a band which has honed their craft to a fine edge.

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




3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Lightbringer
2. The Great Beast
3. Wrath of the Tempest
4. Nigrum Ignis Serpentem
5. Via Dolorosa
6. Serpent’s Blood
7. Children of the Void
8. Legion of the Serpent
9. Obeisance to a Witch Moon
Lineup:
The faceless emanations of primordial chaos (aka Modrius, Tishin and Niantiel)
Record Label: Daemon Worship
     


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