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Graveland - Thousand Swords
Review: A bizarre fusion of antiquity and noise brings simple melodies interacting in the space of a tempest of distortion, overlapping notes to pollenate each note with the microtones of the notes before and after, giving the listener the ability to understand a continuum of relative overtone.
Graveland play modern black metal with pulsing one-two beats, a derivation of techno, and long sequences of patterning and rhythmic development underneath diffused, distorted, spectral vocals. Yet they unify their songs with a dark and ancient sound, a ritual choreography which emphasizes direct rhythms which change as if seasons, creating an epic story in each song. In this complexity the simple elements are joined by a complex understanding of the evolution of the song, making each position significant in the reduction of mystery to the insignificant.
In other works, this band often sounds like a medieval sacrifical dance, full of resignation, ferocity and beauty. Each song holds together as a self-defining agent of expression; the listeners are rarely left confused but are given some ideas, repeated possibly ineffectively but inoffensively within the context of genre. Relentless drumming tips a high hat to Darkthrone and plays under the melodic noise conflagrations of the guitars, which sound melodic by some method of tuning and are played with heavy repetition of notes to generate a flowing stream of melody. Internal harmonies of the scale come together in this method, revealing a nihilistic simplicity behind the aesthetic of the music.
Long songs move through permutations and repeat themselves reordering each phrase to be repeated and changed in the context of a larger pattern based on the similarity of all pieces. Underlying militaristic tendencies in this music is a vital suppressed rage, a force of survival based in anger and dissonance toward all comfort and social logic. In this environment of the utterly straightforward, beauty emerges in the complex imbalance that drives this voice to speak.