Released: 2004, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Norwegian black metallers, Khold, released MORKE GRAVERS KAMMER (translated as “Gravediggers Dark Chamber”), one of the better black metal albums last year but it completely flew under the radar. The band is similar in sound to Carpathian Forest but their brand of black metal is mid-tempo to almost painfully slow. Written entirely in Norwegian, the lyrics (penned by “fifth member,” Hildr) are a complete mystery to me but the general concept is explained in the liner notes: “The lyrical concept is about a dark, rocky and primitive kind of chamber, silently awaiting the souls of the dead. When sounds of the violin appear the dead wake up and dance their deathdance through the chamber. When the music ends it’s dead quiet and all that’s left is mealy dust.” Whatever. All I know is that the cold atmosphere generated by the songs is perfect. Gard’s harsh rasp and the barren riffs project a landscape rift with ice and cold and the excellent production—sorry kvltists—delivers a solid placement of the bass and drums.
The guitar of “Atselgraver” is downtuned (as are many of them throughout the record) but they do give a rather solemn tone to the track. “Dod” and “Med Nebb Og Klor” are speedier tracks with great riffing and an excellent vocal from Gard. Breaking from black metal tradition, the bass guitar of Grimd on the latter track actually provides some excellent groove to the song. “Hevnerske” and the title track are extremely slow paced and at times seem almost too slow but actually give the tracks an almost doom-like quality that really captures the conceptual feeling laid out in the lyrics. “Sjeleskjender” is perhaps the most traditional black metal sounding track on the CD with rapid fire blastbeats and breakneck riffing.
Khold’s groove-laden black metal is definitely a different beast but MORKE GRAVERS KAMMER is also a breath of fresh air in what is fast becoming a stale genre. I am pleased to see bands breaking from the traditions a bit and making black metal exciting again. Well-produced, well-played and a bit out of the ordinary but for those interested in hearing a new sound in the Norwegian black metal ranks, check out Khold.
KILLER KUTS: “Atselgraver,” “Dod,” “Hevnerske,” “Sjeleskjender”