Grift – Syner (Nordvis Produktion)Tuesday, 15th September 2015
The one-man operation of Erik Gärdefors, Grift is aptly described as a “melancholic Swedish black metal” ensemble, which to anyone’s ears worth a salt, is an enticing prospect. To add the intrigue, there’s an underlying folk influence that comes in and around when necessary. It’s the sort of toss-up that usually yields massive results, displaying the obvious difference in how a Scandinavia band goes about such things, versus an American one. The production is thick and robust, the songs rarely have to dive into overly extreme realms, and through it all, Syner (Grift’s debut full-length) retains its sorrowful feel.
All songs in Swedish, no sweat in the lyrical department. Gärdefors’ black metal bark is intense, but not screechy, rather, even bordering on harried death metal. He’s at his most desperate on the excellent “Svältorna,” which blends the dark, ominous range of Euro BM with some off-hand new wave guitar melodies. Granted, they’re not terribly up front and center, but once the tempo shifts and Gärdefors dives back for more melody, it’s sonic gold. (Not to mention the outstanding break at the song’s 4:30 mark.)
From there, the traditional thrust of “Det bortvända ansiktet” moves along at a Norwegian clip, especially with the half-time blasting and the variance in guitar tone. Syner ends up cresting with “Undergörare,” a jangly, shoe-gazing, utterly depressive number that wouldn’t be out of reach for a band like Sweden’s Lifelover, who like Grift, fancy the more depressive elements of black metal.
It’s of utter importance to note that Grift (and Syner as a whole) don’t retain many post-elements. Said elements may make up for the unbeatable sound of a band like An Autumn for Crippled Children, but Grift appears to be coming from a more purist background. Any way you slice it, Syner is one of the year’s better black metal albums, a climatic body of work that will surprise at every turn.