Grief of Emerald
Released: 2000, Listenable Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Swedish atmospheric black metal is the essence of Grief of Emerald. And although I do not particularly care for black metal, these guys are one of the better bands I’ve heard. First of all, they don’t rely solely on blast beats and shitty production. The music is quite dynamic, with many variations in speed. From trudging riffs ala Morbid Angel’s “Where the Slime Live”, to blasting assaults and basically everything in between. The sloth-like riffs in “Beaten Beyond Recognition” are pretty damn awesome in fact. The closing track, “Life Has Lost”, sounds a bit too much like Morbid Angel’s “Hatework”, but I am glad it is a rather short song. And with the exception of this song, all of the songs on this album are above the four-minute mark, with one clocking in at over seven minutes. So considering there are only eight songs, each track is packed full of musical mayhem to make the album pretty well-rounded. Grief of Emerald combine guitar melodies and backing keyboards throughout the album to give it a dark spiritual atmosphere. But although many of the keyboard parts enhance the music, I wish they would use them to a lesser extent. They sound too symphonic at times for me. But when the drums and guitars are played at full-throttle, the keyboards make the blasts sound immense…like being attacked by a thousand dark warriors atop ebony horses. Now I believe at one point in time Johnny Lehto, guitarist of black metallers Decameron, played in Grief of Emerald. I have no idea if he’s still in Grief of Emerald, but Malformed Seed does remind me of Decameron’s My Shadow to a certain extent. I think Decameron is a great band because they know how to write great songs without compromising their brutality. And Grief of Emerald is similar in that respect. Plus for being black metal, both bands incorporated high levels of variety, making them even hard to classify as black metal (not that labels are necessary, but they help to describe a band…). The evil acidic vocals of Grief of Emerald sound just like those of Theory In Practice, so you can rest assured that they are strong and very fitting to the music. And they are not quite as high as your typical black metal vocalist…more mid-range I guess. And as I alluded to earlier, Malformed Seed has a nice, full, and clean production. I believe the band produced the album themselves, which merits praise because they made it sound devastating and heavy! Lyrically, from what little I can decipher, some of the songs carry a satanic message. I think that this topic is getting rather boring, but depending on how they relate their messages in the lyrics, it could be interesting.
Grief of Emerald, although an impressive band, didn’t come crashing down on my senses and obliterate my soul as their music intends. But I do think they are worthy of being heard, especially by fans of atmospheric black metal that can appreciate bands that don’t play a million-miles-an-hour consistently.