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Grift — Budet Award winner

by Aurora Kuczek at 06 March 2020, 1:50 PM

A farmer sat idly in his chair by the fireplace. It was bitter outside, and the fog had begun to roll in from the north. The greys of light from the window illuminated the man’s solemn face and sunken eyes. It had been a harsh winter, and spring was soon to appear. This kept the man hopeful for the next season. He was all alone in his wood structure he built himself, in the barren landscape, very far from town. The fire had begun to die. The farmer lit a candle. There was a soothing placed hand on my shoulder throughout GRIFT’s “Budget” (2020). The one man project from Sweden began in the year of 2011. I would describe the music as atmospheric black metal, but with blackened folk elements within it. The album reminded me of the project, DRUDKH, but without the much used influence of the double kick. GRIFT and DRUDKH actually created “Autumn in Sepia” and “Hägringar” together back in 2016, perhaps which is why I was reminded of DRUDKH while listening to Erik’s newest album. Nevertheless, GRIFT uses a darker folk music in their projects to make the songs abstract yet placid. Being a one-person project, I have great respect for Erik.

The farmer’s way of life appeared in “Barn Av Ingensmansland” through the aching, ancient synths. As the song progresses, the farmer gets up from his chair and looks out the window. The guitars get more excited, picking up the pace, but the archaisms about the land never loses its grasp. Erik’s vocal styles are coarse, but never get too low to evoke a more distress sense to the piece that allows one to connect on a more vivid sight. Classical guitar and a wind-like instrument develop in “Skimmertid.” There is also a trumpet sounding instrument, that awakens the lost soul found in the farmer. The track is an olden folk tale told through the mind of Erik who experiences the world in an elegant gloom over a green and gray world. In a tremendous melody with a wolf howling somewhere across the farm, the farmer begins to age, and he loses his balance. He falls to the ground. It gets darker outside. He has done nothing today, or the last. All his time has been spent waiting for the good days to come. “Ödets Bortbytingar” begins with a double kick and off-key notes that exhibit the melodic atmosphere of the cosmos.

The vocals heighten here, and I can hear the rain swallowing the houses that exist in nowhere. The layers of instrumentation of the violin and synth build a vivacity that only thrives in solitude.  The album diverges from previous tracks in “Väckelsebygd.” In an ancestral pattern, the track begins with a sincere eeriness and charged fog that smothers the man. Gasping for breath and, still lying upon the floor, he hears the creaking of some figure near his side. There is a chorus of melody and synth-like organs as the figure walks towards him. The sound is not perfect, but it is made to be unpleasant yet refreshing to the ear. Closing, and opening his eyes, the farmer sees that there is nothing but a shadow. He is confused, and begins to cry. Perhaps he had seen his father. Or his wife. But he remains a man whose life is gone, and he only has but himself to understand. “Vita Arkiv” carries back a blackened folk melody with high notes combating the lowness of the synths and double kick in a magnificent rhythm.

Through tranquil lands and uplifting mystique, we are transported out of despair, through a concept of beauty that has been lost to the eagle’s eye. The dissonance of the violin and guitar allows the farmer to stand once again. To sit back into his chair. To light the candle he had once lit many days before. It was as if nothing had ever happened, and the farmer was the same as he had been.  “Oraklet I Kullabo” begins with the sounds of birds in a crisp nature. A calming lullaby puts the sorrows to sleep, but awakens the perceptions that are most sensitive, most raw. The story continues, but there are pages to fill, with no pen to write with. The track fades with a synth-like horn, and the farmer turns to night, as the fog lifts. GRIFT’s, “Budet,” is a whimsically phenomenal album. For an atmospheric black metal sound, the work achieves its purpose by creating emotions that are lonesome and rare. The album tells a story of desolation in the most warming and heartfelt way possible.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Barn av ingenmansland
2. Skimmertid
3. Ödets bortbytingar
4. Väckelsebygd
5. Vita arkiv
6. Oraklet i Kullabo
Erik Gärdefors – All Instrumentation and Vocals
Record Label: Nordvis Produktion


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Edited 30 November 2022

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