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Ofdrykkja - Gryningsvisor Award winner

by Laura Glover at 14 December 2019, 4:59 AM

So much of the year 2019 has been about personal growth for so many. It's almost ironic that I should finish out the year with a review on a band that mimics that statement so much. OFDRYKKJA is a band formed by three men whom carry pieces of all of us within their soulful notes. Formed eight years ago, the band has tumultuous beginnings. Their first album, "A Life Worth Losing" deeply reflected their dark birth. Each member came to the band plagued by long time addictions and mental illnesses, such as depression. Their first album was an attempt to assuage that pain. However, aren't the best poems written with the most poignant pain?

Sometimes poetry comes to us in the form of melody in musical notes, sometimes poetry has no words. Drabbad was arrested before their second album came along and spent a three-year prison sentence writing the lyrics for the next album, "Irrfärd" (which translates to "aimless journey"). Rock bottom is good solid ground, we learn to rebuild from that place of utter surrender. This is the place that OFDRYKKJA turned around. The second album being that turning point. Since then, Drabbad has remained clean, Pessimisten broke his chains to alcohol, and Associate "found his path in the homestead direction", to quote. Released on November 29, 2019,  "Gryningsvisor" (Swedish for 'Ballads at Dawn') is the perfect third album for this saga of pain and recovery. The album itself has a haunting quality to it that speaks from the depth of the soul. These are the anthems to us conquering our demons. This is the sigh of relief when you stand victorious in the end. Set to Atmospheric Black Metal and Melancholic Folk tones.

"Skymningsvisa" - Like that moment of waking up when you are still pleasantly warm and cozy, and in a slight dream-like state. Before the harsh reality of the world comes rushing in. Or like a slow dance with your lover, with achingly beautiful love poems hovering in the air around you. "The Swan" - From the soft currents in song one, we ride the river of melody to song two. Whose intro instantly makes you fall in love, and torturous vocals remind you that though soft this is still metal. Soft female vocals accompany the tortured screams, with ethereal synthesis. "Swallowed by the Night" - Classic piano loveliness that builds intensity with the addition of guitars, bass, and drums. "Someone heard my desperate cries, A spirit in wolf's disguise, He took me through the forest deep, As my body fell asleep".

"Wither" - "I was surrounded by darkness, Embraced by darkness, So darkness I became." Various types of vocals come together in this track. Those hellish screams, haunting male voices, and words quoted like a poetry reading. "As the Northern Wind Cries" - As I am writing it is cold outside, we just got fresh snow today. The very title of this song makes me shiver. Whose lyrics speak of a dark December, when one's soul is wrought. "Herr Mannelig" - This track is like a Viking cold winter, with an old time Gothic type feel to it. A song whose haunting female vocals tug at your heart and make you long for a place of soft comfort, with the addition of a horn played by Pessimisten.

With a whole album whose seeming goal is to put you in a place of retrospection, OFDRYKKJA delivers with heart wrenching power. The ties to folk strong throughout, with a Celtic lyre and violin create the most perfectly soothing sounds. Metal is different for everyone. Some of us like old school thrash, some progressive, some symphonic and melodic, and so much more. Not all metal is hard and fast. Some is soft and strong. This album falls in the latter.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Skymningsvisa
2. The Swan
3. Swallowed by the Night
4. Ensam
5. Wither
6. In I Natten
7. As the Northern Winds Cries
8. Herr Mannelig
9. Vara minnens klagosang
10. Koldvisa
11. Grey
12. Gryningsvisa
Drabbad -  Vocals, Guitars, Acoustic guitars, Electronics, Bass, Drums
Ahlström - Backing vocals, Guitars, Bass, Acoustic guitars, Electronics, Celtic lyre, Violin
Pessimisten - Vocals, Horn on Herr Mannelig
Record Label: Art of Propaganda Records


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