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Released: 2011, Darker Than Black
There is a certain mystique (especially within Black Metal) about the North in general and winter specifically. For those of us who choose to live in the North and have experienced winter, it is easy to understand the darkly romantic appeal. I’m not talking about a metropolitan, urban winter as in, “God Damn, I have to shovel the driveway this freezing morning so I can drive my 1986 Toyota to my job at McDonalds”. I’m talking the mystique of a real rural, desolate and isolated winter as portrayed on the cover art of Galdrs’ self-titled, debut album. I’d suggest that most people on the planet would never experience a true, grim, frostbitten winter, hence the popular appeal of the dangers of the unknown.
GALDR presents a very real sonic representation of what winter can be like, very still, very calm and yet foreboding. This Black Metal is very minimalist, long intro’s very echoey and ambient with lots of winter sound-effects. I’m not suggesting that I’m a hardened survivalist but over the years of hunting and camping in rural Canada I can really relate to the attraction of the solitude. I feel Galdr have really captured that atmosphere on this short six-track, 30 minute album…just long enough to freeze to death.
GALDR is heavily thematic and with many ambient touches. It’s not as plodding as Funeral Doom nor does it drift into Darkwave territory, this is certainly Black Metal, pure and cold. The vocals, shrieks and screams are mixed way back, the drumming muted and the guitars drone on relentless like the north winds. There is still quite a bit of pace in the songs proper once you have enjoyed the long intros, chimes, and gusts of howling winds. Of course the lyrics correspond with a winter theme throughout the album.
Here the odd part, Galdr (formerly Thulcandra) founded by Draugur is a one-man band based in… Georgia? I don’t usually associate Georgia, USA with grim and necro frost-bitten winter but before we fling accusations of a lack of authenticity, perhaps Draugr (if that is his real name!) used to live in Canada or Norway or somewhere snowy. However, that is irrelevant because listening to this record, he has created an impressive sonic landscape. GALDR is a highly impressive debut and as I sit here listening to this in the heat of a Canadian summer, this album sends chills down my spine.
1. Winter and Life
3. Sköll's Dream
4. Winter's Spirit
5. Into Unknown Mist
6. Snowfall and Decay
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