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Karmanjaka – Gates of Muspel

Gates of Muspel
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 January 2022, 10:39 AM

KARMANJAKA is a Black Metal band based out of Sweden. “The Brothers Lionheart” (Bröderna Lejonhjärta) is a Swedish fantasy novel written by Astrid Lindgren, in which Karmanjaka is the name of a cave resided by the dragon Katla. This is the band’s third full-length album, and contains eight tracks.

The title track kicks us off. It begins with a chaotic blend of guitars, drums and vocals, along with that muted production that often accompanies the genre. Some guitar leads pierce the veil, followed by clean vocal chants. Some eerie chord progressions ensue, making you take note that this is not your average Black Metal band. “Ancient Aeon” opens with a slow and swinging groove. The vocals are pure Black Metal, but the rhythms are very unlike other bands in the genre. There is a point where you lose track of the meter, and even a guitar solo.

“Draug” begins with the sound of a low horn and some marching beats. I can’t help but notice that this could refer to the Horror film out of the country in 2018. It slows for some dueling guitars and the calm before the storm, returning with a hideous ending. “Sorcerer King” begins with more of a chaotic but oddly structured guitar riff that shows some hidden talents that the band has. Some cleans mix in and the sound transforms to an almost Post-Metal approach. “Amongst the Waves” begins with ambient tones, and a soft build of melodic guitars. The sound is slow and steady from there, with despondent tones that are quite majestic.

“Anti-Godess” opens with some ritualistic vocals and more dissonance in the guitars. It segues into clean guitars along with some melody. “Sculpting the Heavens” being with a firey pace and then settles with a slow groove of harrowing vocals. The guitar work is really great in this song, dancing in and out with the drums. “Fenrir” closes the album, and it’s the longest song presented. It begins with tight instrumentation and some harmonic leads. The rhythmic patterns are unique and the sound again transforms outside of the traditional genre boundaries. Towards the middle, it slows, to a final sprint, of dreadful but powerful sounds.

The artwork on the album is fantastic, and hints at gems hidden inside. This isn’t your dad’s Black Metal, that is for sure. It is inventive, imaginative, creative, and offer something different within the genre to tantalize your senses.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

Purchase Link:

4 Star Rating

1. Gates of Muspel
2. Ancient Aeon
3. Draug
4. Sorcerer King
5. Amongst The Waves
6. Anti-Godess
7. Sculpting The Heavens
8. Fenrir
Karm – Bass
Grond – Drums
Tengil – Guitars
Orm – Guitars
Skallagrim – Vocals
Record Label: Grind to Death Records


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Edited 23 May 2022

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