Release DetailsLABEL Displeased Records
RELEASED ON 4/28/2007
posted on 5/2007 By:
If you enjoy mid-paced and melodic black metal with heavy folk overtones, then Grimm's latest is well worth your consideration. Drawing influence from notable acts such as Drudkh, Menhir, Enslaved and Windir, Grimm have recorded a predictable album that is nevertheless solid and swelling with pagan pride.
Despite their misleading moniker, Grimm actually plays a triumphant and melodic style of pagan/folk black metal that is more evocative of battlefields and sprawling blood-soaked beaches than it is of barren tundras and craggy wastelands. The low-fi but warm production seems geared at allowing the clean vocals and lead guitars to shine rather than just creating a grim and disconnected atmosphere. In short, Grimm doesn't really live up to their name. Mostly, Heksenkringen is a mid-paced and melodic affair that while not bursting with the ceremonial bombast of Turisas, is still likely to send many a LARPer to the tool shed with its earthy and prideful tunes. Opening track “Witte Ruiter,” sets the pace for the rest of the album with Heer Antikrist laying down robust, clean vocals over melodic and moderately paced rock. While rarely groundbreaking, Heksenkringen is a conceptually solid album that keeps the listener on board with its solid riffing and hypnotizing vocals and occasionally rewards them with some spectacular moments. Examples of those moments would be the Drudkh inspired guitar interlude in “Verbranding Ven Een Heks,” or the harmonized refrain of “Van Drakenbloed Fel.” However, there are moments when Grimm's dogged determination to mid-paced riffing can grow tiresome. While never overtly bad, there are many points where tracks blend into each and become an amorphous wall of non-threatening sound. After repeated listens, I still can't say what distinguishes “Zwarte Magie,” from “Als Wederganger Dwalend.”
To some, Grimm's consistency and adherence to form will be its biggest selling point, for others it might just make for a slightly unexciting album. It really all depends on which side of the fence you fall on with this style of black metal. There are very few missteps on Heksenkringen, but that might be because the band didn't take very many chances.
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