I have already followed this band for some years and have always loved their funereal atmospheres; I had therefore high expectations when I laid my hands on this album, and I was not disappointed. Those who like me have previously followed the Stockholm-based band will surely recognize the very personal and special touch of this band: funereal, gray, intense atmospheres, sometimes with slow and almost doom-influenced tempos. With Ending, Heljarmaðr and company have made more than one step forward. At last, they have improved the sound production, which in my opinion was one of the weaknesses of the band in the past; now everything seems perfect in the sound, even if the presence of the drums sounds a bit weak to me. One of the traditional features of Grá-branded black metal is simple and minimal riffs which, however, are put together so as to create an intense dramatic tension. Ending is in fact a profound and complex album, full of variety and solutions; every song continues naturally into the next one so that you almost do not realize that another song has started: the album is therefore like a concept. It is an album that will not bore the listener, who, on the contrary, has the sensation that the album improves continually as it rolls on; perhaps the best songs are in the second part of the album, such as “Helfärd pt. III (Den gamle)” and “I döden”. What makes this album a masterpiece is not only the high quality riffing, but also the arrangements and the attention to detail; Heljarmaðr’s vocal performance itself is stunning.
As for the lyrics, three languages are used: English, Swedish and Old Norse; the theme is mostly mythological, but not as a tribute to the Viking gods, but rather as a search for spirituality.
Grá were already the most important band in the Swedish underground; their cutting-edge new album Ending can be the leap and Grá this time can really achieve the status of an international band. Masterpiece.
Ending was released on December 24 2015 on Unexploded Records.
2. Þar til eldurinn mig gleypir
3. He Who Comes
4. Där skuggor dröjer kvar
6. Helfärd pt. III (Den gamle)
7. I döden
Dimman: Drums, Vocals (backing), Samples
Heljarmadr: Vocals, Guitars (lead), Guitars (acoustic), Keyboards
Maugrim: Bass, Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Text by Herjann