By rights this demo should sound somewhat phoned in coming so hot on the heels of the band’s excellent debut album, ‘Nedstigning’.
However the two minds behind the somewhat enigmatic Gjendød appear to have struck gold once again.
A snappy three song tape, ‘Havet tar’ not only maintains the high standard these Norwegians are becoming known for but it also expands the band’s sound in a couple of ways. And despite the uncharacteristically murky sound of the recording the sheer quality of ideas being explored easily shines through.
After a brief noise intro, opener ‘Å drukne i kjente farvann’ arrives with brute force and atmospherics, and as such is the most direct song here. It might actually be their darkest and heaviest song to date, in fact, but there is enough playfulness in the riffs to hold the attention.
The delicate notes that flutter over the matrix of gloom toward the end, and just about sparkle above the murk, add a touch of class and imagination before the song drops into a more typical acoustic interlude.
In previous reviews I have established that one of Gjendød’s finer attributes are the evocative, playful and unpredictable basslines. So it is that ‘Med fjell av åte’ stands out as being especially strong. Opening with a weighty mid-paced trundle, the bass is given the freedom to roam. It really adds so much depth to the song and is topped off with excellent spoken vocals before heading into more traditionally grim territory.
While the song varies in pace the bass playing never settles into predicatble patterns, keeping the listener on their toes, adding a jaunty folkishness that brings just the right amount of light to the music without sucking out its dark soul. Suffice to say their is an overall aura of evil permeating the rest of the music to keep things on track, so the contrast works quite well.
The final track is a grotty keyboard affair with groaning spoken word on top and wraps the short demo up nicely.
I’m sure the wait won’t be too long for the next release from K and KK, they are riding the crest of a wave it would seem. I wonder where they will take us next.
– Andrew Cunningham ::: 06/19/2017