Grima – Will of the Primordial (Naturmatcht Productions)

Tuesday, 27th August 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

Here in the DC area summer remains very much alive. Consider me caught by surprise when I stumbled upon the placid winterscape that adorns Will of the Primordial. The band name seemed familiar and after searching back through my ever-growing Spotify lists I found the band’s first album from a dark corner in 2016. I carried no memory of the encounter, however (2016 was a whirlwind) and thus came into Will of the Primordial with fairly neutral expectations.

Grima is a two-piece (brothers, at that) from Russia (the Siberian portion!) and forest worship is the central tenet of the band’s drive. Spiritual brethren with the likes of Soar, Panopticon, and almost any band that’s carried the ‘Cascadian’ banner over the last decade.

Musically it’s what you’d expect- black metal with atmosphere through its use of synth (which is ample) and seamless folk instrumentation (accordion!) into the songwriting. The songs are full without being overbearing (the longest just crosses over 9 minutes) the songwriting is variable enough that it doesn’t feel like a single idea played out in eight different ways. “Leshiy” is incredibly affecting in its emotional swings and juxtapositions: passages of reflection and fury alike going by far quicker than the song’s run time would imply.

Penultimate “Howl At Night” carries these same attributes and marries them with clean (ish) vocals as dressing around its moments of peak intensity and features a lengthy, smooth transition into a warm, accordion-lead close. It sounds fantastic with nothing buried and nothing overwhelming (and, perhaps best of all, nothing false). There is a reserved and even lush quality to the experience in Will of the Primordial. It’s the surprise of the unexpected gushing out with sublime confidence.

That confidence, in turn, makes for a sublime listening experience.

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