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Review: Griftegard - Solemn, Sacred, Severe
Solemn, Sacred, Severe

Label: Van Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Doom Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: April 11, 2010
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Solemn, Sacred, Severe

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (8 Votes)

I was not sure quite what to make of this at first. After all, a band that calls their opening song "Charles Taze Russell" is either deeply christist or up to something entirely unusual. I will admit I was concerned that this was a band of god-botherers, but since it was on the Van label I gave it a good hard look before I zeroed it (Xtian music can never get anything but a 0 from me), and a careful examination of the lyrics revealed a deeply misanthropic and sarcastic album, using christist imagery in a subversive and malignant manner.

Griftegard play a crushing brand of Doom highly reminiscent of Warning, with the super-heavy but melodically mournful guitar playing and Thomas Eriksson's powerful, intimate vocals. This is not a band drawing on or imitating Sabbath at all, so there is none of that retro/stoner vibe going on. Vocals are almost entirely single-tracked and mixed upfront, so they sound very personal and the emotion in Eriksson's voice shines through. He's not operatic, and his voice has a lot of grit and dirt in it; a lot of texture. The lyrical themes are abstruse, seeming to be about christist themes on the surface, but actually expressing hatred, hoplessness, and desolation by corrupting the simpleminded comforting aspect of the parables. "Heavenly father angry with his children/Sends his firstborn to kill them/High and low they will all fall/By the swords of heavens horde." – not a story of forgiveness.

If they have a fault, it's that like a lot of Doom bands, they draw out the arrangements past the point where the melodic interest can be sustained, and the songs seem to drag on too long without enough happening. They largely manage to avoid this, but it is present nonetheless. Still, this is a strong debut and a worthy band to investigate for Doom fans, as there are finer works yet in this band's future.

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