Isvind did their own business as a duo and, and after 10 years of activity, they added a new member to the group who took care of the bass playing and a new drummer. The latest Isvind full-length is called Gud, meaning God in Norwegian. To put it simply, the grimness and gloominess of the early 90s is long gone. Isvind opted for a more brutal approach to their sound, abusing the blastbeats and improving their production. The sound is somewhat reminiscent of the Marduk brutality, but not with the riffing harshness of the latter. They managed to maintain a kind of graceful atmosphere, using female vocals to punctuate the landscape, but not by overusing them. They knew where to stop the blasting to let the wall of sound breathe or, instead, add a layer of chanting that provided the atmospheric touch they once had. I thought the drums were too loud, or something in the mix was invasive towards the listening experience, but I think that was made with intent, to boost the basses and power up the heaviness.
Nevertheless, this album was a huge improvement compared to Daumyra, which was more derivative in itself. The first track, “Flommen”, can be deceiving as «too melodic», because it starts with a solo female voice, and maintains a continuum between that voice and the rest of the instruments. That continuum progressively fades during the following songs, as something that is still there from time to time, fading-out during its subsequent use. It’s an interesting gradation that helps the album flow and makes it perhaps more accessible.
My favorite track “Boken” is maybe a bit Marduk-ish in some riffing, but the voices still flow as a Medusa shriek into the space. The last solo is barely listenable, with no technicalities, it sounds good though. The rest of the album is like more or less a variation of “Boken” because after “Dåren” the album doesn’t keep the same kind of atmosphere. It does that gradation I mentioned earlier.
All in all, I recommend this listen, and even though it’s sung in Norwegian (language I understand in its most basic form) it always sounds good, and we feel that impulse to keep listening and fighting through those monolithic blastbeats to see what happens next, like in a movie.
Gud was released on June 26 2015 in CD and vinyl by Folter Records.
Goblin – Drums, vocals, keyboards
Arak Draconiiz – Guitars, bass, vocals
Skævvtroll – Bass
Slääbrääch – Drums
Text by Vetrarnótt