Released: 2008, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Following a brief hiatus, Norway’s Khold return with a newfound lease on life (death?) with HUNDRE ÅR GAMMAL, picking up right where they left off on 2005’s KREK. Not much has changed in the Khold camp—the groove-laden, mid-tempo songs are still laced with Gard’s sandpapery rasp—so there isn’t any changes to speak of but fans of the band will surely be satisfied with what they’ll hear on HUNDRE ÅR GAMMAL.
Fans of “true” black metal will surely be disappointed in the excellent production and overall tone of HUNDRE ÅR GAMMAL. Sarke’s drumming rarely veers into the uncontrolled blasting typical of the genre and the riffing of Gard and Rinn are loaded with melodies that are bleak, but catchy. Whether hitting the black ‘n roll groove of Satyricon’s later output (Der Kulden Rår) or MONOTHEIST-era Celtic Frost (“Forrykt”), Khold still manages to evoke feelings of bleak despair with an overwhelming coldness thanks to Gard’s delivery. Even someone not fluent in Norwegian (Khold’s lyrics are always written in the band’s native tongue by Gard’s wife, Hildr) is able to capture the feeling of the songs through ambience and atmospherics. A prime example is the rattling riff of “Rekviem” that just evokes a certain chilliness. Another “rule” Khold dispenses with is the prominence of bass guitar. Grimd really lets loose on the title track and elsewhere with a thick, rumbling bass tone that defies any pre-ordained black metal conventions.
Khold is not your typical black metal band and HUNDRE ÅR GAMMAL demonstrates what makes the Norwegians such a treat to listen to. Instead of playing up the grimness and relying on a minimalist approach, Khold utilizes the full musical landscape to drive home its sound and never sounds polished or commercial. This is a far cry from, say, a Dimmu Borgir album but it is equally distant from the early works of Darkthrone. HUNDRE ÅR GAMMAL is simply another great record from Khold—nothing more, nothing less.
KILLER KUTS: “Der Kulden Rår,” “Hundre År Gammal,” “Forrykt,” “Rekviem”