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Greve – Nordarikets Strid Award winner

Nordarikets Strid
by Joseth Radiant at 22 February 2020, 5:48 PM

Here we are with another Black Metal band from Scandinavia, this time Sweden is the home of the group in question. Now, before you roll your eyes thinking that you’ve heard it all before, the debut album from GREVE (Count, in English) is a Black Metal album worth your time and attention. As I was listening to NORDARIKETS STRID (Battle Of The North in English) for the first time, I was beginning to think that it was nothing more than an open letter to Satan and how awesome Satan is along with everything else we’ve heard before in Black Metal. However, I was wrong. This album contains the rage of the old gods. This album strips away the cartoon-like qualities of gods like Odin, Thor, Loki, and their kind and reveals them to be beyond forces of nature. These are characters and creatures beyond the bounds of nature itself, and if disrespected, they will terrifyingly cut you down. GREVE captures this mentality and sound with drastic effect, leaving you feeling unsafe and powerless before the gods of old.

I have always made the argument that Black Metal is like the horror genre of film. When horror movies are correctly made, you get chills and you feel a palpable sense of evil. But if not done right, horror movies are almost stupidly hilarious. GREVE is in the former category; this is Black Metal done with excellence. I will say that NORDARIKETS STRID does not have any groundbreaking sounds or techniques to add to the Black Metal genre. This album isn’t looking to break out into new territory, but it is reaffirming why Black Metal is such a powerful sub-genre of Heavy Metal. The vocal performances actually sound like demonic, otherworldly beings cursing the whole of existence for no other reason than the ones they have for themselves.

From NAZGUL-like shrieks to bowel-busting growls (for lack of a better term), I have yet to hear a Black Metal album before this one delivering such convincing vocals that make you feel squeamish and unclean. There is a fair amount of cavernous reverb that is used from start to finish, but it’s not so cavernous that you cannot distinguish what instruments are being played. But where they get it incredibly right is that there are moments of quiet passages peppered throughout the album that gives you the feeling that you’re finally going to get a break from the sonic assault. Just when you think you are getting a respite, you have the rug pulled out from underneath you and you’re blasted with GREVE’s angry bombastic barrage to the senses.

Holding true to the Black Metal aesthetic, there is very little information online about who made the album. This time, however, I feel that it works. I want the mystery and the unknown on the album to remain just that, the mysterious unknown. I do believe from work research I have done that both Lik and Swartadauthuz are veterans of the Black Metal scene, and the strength of this debut really attests to this fact. Typically after listening to most Black Metal albums, I have a sensation of relief that the experience is over. However, with NORDARIKETS STRID, it was an intense experience but not so intense that you didn’t want to listen to it again. These Swedes have given us a great reminder of why Black Metal is still a powerful genre, and I’m looking forward to them making more music in the future. And yes, as always, BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Vid Dödens Tröskel (At the Threshold of Death)
3. Nordarikets Strid (Battle of the North)
4. I Svarta Solens Magi (In The Magic of the Black Sun)
5. Det Gamla Rikets Ruin (The Ruin of the Old Kingdom)
6. Ur Nordiskt Vrede (From Nordic Anger)
7. Offerbål till Gudarna (Sacrifice to the Gods)
8. Outro
Lik – Vocals
Swartadauthuz – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Record Label: Purity Through Fire Records


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