Songs seen through the eyes of the dying…
Country (for what it’s worth): Denmark
Members: Casper Axilgård (drums), Atli Brix Kamban (vocals and guitars), Niels Asger Svensson (bass)
Mix & recording: Troels Damgaard Holm (Farvemøllen & Black Tornado Studio)
Mastering: Brad Boatright (Audiosiege)
Artwork: Johannes Larsen (intriguing black ‘n’ red palette, with a mammoth about to crush the head of a captured enemy; referring to the third poem on this album???)
Type: digipack-CD (no booklet, no lyrics)
Genre: Blackened Sludge / Doom / Post-Hardcore
It might be not that polite to call this band a successor of defunct act Whelm, but it does cover the package somehow. Anyway, this material was recorded in 2021 and released by almighty Aesthetic Death at the end of Autumn 2022 (indeed, more than fifteen months ago, but then again: so what?!). The band digitally self-released this material, also in collaboration with Aesthetic Death, the label that took care of the compact-disc edition (limited to 300 copies). In April 2023, by the way, Vinyltroll Records re-issued the stuff on vinyl (two versions) and tape (links: below).
From sonic point of view, Weight Of A God brings forth an eardrum-caressing mixture of Morbid Doom, Post-Hardcore, Sludge and Funereal Black Metal. It’s an intense experience, immensely overwhelming and unstoppably overpowering. The seven tracks are very slow in execution, and the monolithic sludgy riffs squeeze all corporeal fluids out of your corpse. Figuratively, of course… These pieces are structured around a spine of multi-facetted layers of guitar, with melodious, doomed, droning, harmonic and rhythmic strings all at once, acting in one organic symbiosis. The melodies come with an addictively narcotic mood, often twisting, even alienated, yet permanently enthralling. Besides, the unique drum performance create a fine typifying identity. All this goes incredibly well with the extreme vocals. The better part sounds like a raw and caustic scream-like acid-puking throat, molesting both vocal chords and eardrums. Moreover, there are some Hardcore’ish Screamo-like yells, deadly growls and even anthemic hints.
The whole half-an-hour sounds like a rabid battering ram, like a stampede of prehistoric giants through a narrow crevasse. Yet then again, the semi-lethargic tempo works like a confusing contrast, compared to that heaviness. It’s like that paleolithic herd crawling forth and along through a ravine of stinking tar, rather than running away in fear.
A nice injection of momentary points of ostensible rest are the few semi-acoustic intermezzos, which are at least as lackadaisical as the harsh parts. These excerpts are like fragments of escapism, yet it’s impossible to hide from the menacing, ominous reality, which is our imminent doom and decline. Weight Of A God works as the purgative soundtrack for cleansing and penitence.
Of an ingeniously developed insight is the subtle hint of dissonance, secretly involved within several passages (like in Waves). That modest dose of discordance surreptitiously refers to the conceptual poetry, which is death, or better: the knowledge if an inevitable death that stands before the victim’s corpse, ready to take him (or her) away from mortality. The whole album is drenched in tension and anguish, over and over again, yet finally, towards the end (symbolically and literally), that anxiety for impending death works therapeutic, when the apotheosis of the last composition, The Pyre, comes closer. Initially, it’s heavy like a cosmic explosion, soon interrupted by a grooving break, before the aural extremity returns like an all-devouring avalanche, slowly yet unforgivingly covering everything on its way in suffocating masses of ashes and ice. Yet it is towards the end (this piece is the lengthiest, with it’s eight minutes of duration) that things get clear: the end is near, death will guide me through the portal of mortality. That apotheosis, well, a monument of a darkest synth-work, an effort of purest Dark Ambient / Winter Synth elegance, injected by howling and haunted voices at the background, and provocative noises towards the very end…
Grava brought an impressive debut with Weight Of A God, and until now it’s this band’s sole effort. Along with all of you, I do look forward to bid welcome to the sophomore album. When? I hope as soon as possible…