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Graveland - Following the Voice of Blood
Review: Majestic and nihilistic simultaneously this music evolves the romantic saga of the abyss music of Graveland, making from the elements of simplicity a complexity of relationships which suggests paradoxically a world hidden in the very elements of common granularity written off by conventional moralists, scholars, and art critics.
Possibly the most adventurous band in black metal at this time, Graveland have no hesitation about projecting their dissonant and folksy masterpieces at the same time as their fascist views, but did not originate as a political band and allow their primary focus in this music to remain the art behind it. This band interlaces tempos and patterns in a theory of nihilistic motion similar to that of Darkthrone or Burzum, where the chaotic allocation of a centering allows a motion to be created that is more complex than the simple vectors of rock music, preferring a direction of refraction to a teleological need for consistency. The result is ambiguous music that nonetheless clearly enunciates its aspirations toward a more feral and yet more intellectualized reality.
The formerly solid songs composed primarily of streams of chords in tremelo fluidity have been replaced by slower strumming of more complex note patterns within chords, allowing the open-strum flexibility and familiarity of folk music to merge with the melodic infusion that has been a hallmark of Graveland since their first releases. Melodies which previously stretched like languid felines across all elements of the song now are sublimated between layers of harmonic interchange and rhythmic consistency that seems melodramatic but restrains its theatre to emphasis on the major compositional shifts within each piece.
Sparse yet punctual the drumming of Capricornus once again highlights this album with its unusual understanding of the subdivisions of rhythm inherent in each placement and a post-jazz realization of intermittent patterning as a method of meta-alignment of rhythmic structures within the overall relationship of a piece. Throat searing vocals keep themselves in a narrative function by staying in the rhythmic background while emphasizing the sublime elements of each phrase in harmony and fluid percussion, riding the rhythmic peak rather than hitting it for more effect than the more obvious techniques of precision. Each composition, although built from rudimentary elements seemingly alternating in a cyclic chorus style, has a unique codex to which its riffs and overall structure conforms to accentuate its individuality through which it speaks a poetry of loss and determination.