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Review: Grendel - Beowulf

Label: Narok Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 37:58
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: September 11, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 3.38/5 (67.5%) (16 Votes)

A glance at this certainly did not raise my hopes, as the band name, title, and subject have all been well-tilled by many bands, and I did not think this would be any more than another generic Black Metal waste of time, but this is in fact a highly impressive album for this Italian band, who do indeed take a standard formula and manage to do something fresh and arresting with it.

Stylistically this is fast, somewhat folk-tinged BM - nothing really new - but as always, it's all about execution. Grendel mix a grating, aggressive guitar sound with excellent riffs and songwriting to make a sound that jumps right out and grabs you. Vocals alternate between a rasp and a low chanted style, but it is all done very carefully, for maximum artistic effect. The production is solid without being too polished, and some of the leadwork is startlingly beautiful. Mostly, the songwriting sensibility is just spot-on, with every riff and time shift placed for proper effect. This disc completely avoids the shapelessness that so often plagues this style of music and delivers smart, sharp songs with razor-keen riffs and a real epic feel that actually connects with the mythic theme. A fine debut for a young band with a whole shitload of promise. Recommended.

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