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Gnipahålan > I nordisk vredeslusta > Reviews > we hope you die
Gnipahålan - I nordisk vredeslusta

Certitude in bombast and theatricality - 85%

we hope you die, September 22nd, 2022

One thing that always strikes me about black metal, in whatever guise it presents itself, is the urgent need to establish and insist upon a world that is other to what the listener may be accustomed to. Even veterans of the genre must move through a world of the day to day, one largely distinct from the fantastical grotesqueries this music is bent on invoking. Part of the reason why laboured intros and interludes are so common in the genre is to introduce a pallet cleanser before the main event, or as connecting tissues designed to reaffirm a common bond with the audience before pulling them further into the experience.

On ‘I nordisk vredeslusta’, Gnipahalan set about this project so insistently and instantaneously that one feels fully enveloped in the album’s magisterial phantasmagoria with little to no preamble required. This is gothic infused symphonic black metal on overdrive, a more cyclical rendition of ‘Anthems to Welkin at Dusk’ maybe, albeit with a more reflective meditative purpose in mind. Swelling strings link up the swirling lacquer of ascending and descending guitar chords that keep the music in constant minor key melodic churn. Vocals throb out of the mix in stilted, staccato gut punches of ghoulish spoken word, replacing the drums as a percussive entity, leaving the latter free to whip up a panorama of rhythmic energy worthy of the cinematic ambitions of the music itself.

A more fitting descriptor might be a symphonic retelling of Burzum. All the sombre grandeur of black metal is on display, including the pathos and deep sense of loss that stands as an unanswerable accusation at the heart of the style. But any opportunity for silent reflection is swept away in the bombastic certainty of Gnipahalan’s theatricality. The world is built and insisted upon. This is black metal that eschews balking at the shortcomings of our present reality and instead sets about the task of creating anew, simultaneously indoctrinating all those who come into contact with it.

In this sense it is the next phase of evolution for black metal made finally explicit. It assumes the initial project in standing contrary to other forms of music, the common lifestyles of modernity, and even contrasting itself against other forms of extreme metal, all has already been completed, and the unrestrained expressions of this monstrous genre have won out. All that remains to be achieved is to solidify the victory. What’s perhaps most remarkable in this regard is how fresh ‘I nordisk vredeslusta’ manages to sound, and how apart from the pack of undeniably similar artists Gnipahalan are able to position themselves.

It’s not that there is anything new or remotely novel to be had within this album. It is that it achieves more completely and convincingly what so many similar albums fail to quite grasp. The expression is so total, the delivery so untroubled by context or pacing, and the sonic palette so overstuffed with information that we are forced to decide against our best instincts and continue to sodden ourselves in the experience. There is an odd hypnotism at play beneath the mechanics of this album that keeps one enthralled, sustaining our interest to the last despite the ontological intensity – or monotony – of the raw experience. We are but forced to conclude that Gnipahalan have bottled the essence of the black metal project on this album and discovered a way to harness its power without amending the tried and trusted formulas in any notably dramatic way.

Originally published at Hate Meditations<a/.