Just the mention of Norwegian black metal sends shivers down the spine, and in many respects Gravdal’s third album has many of the classic aspects – withering, spiteful riffs, and a cold and lingeringly deathly air.
The title track opens up proceeding and immediately sets the bleak mood. But set in the middle is an awesome saxophone piece, which is not only different but adds an eerie dimension. It all has the rancid air of works by Koldbrann, Satyricon and Taake, the latter two of which provide guest appearances on this album. It’s constantly intriguing. From anarchy and suffering, we enter into the territory of pained doom on “Apostler av Døden” (Apostles of the Dead) before anarchic fire and brimstone return. It’s nasty, has a rawness of sound and sparked at least this listener’s imagination. More death features on “Dans med Livet, Dans med Døden” (Dance with Life, Dance with Death). It creeps and crawls and growls along impressively, breaking out into controlled violence. The sound is decidedly old school. You can’t have gleaming constructions when trotting out this sort of thing. It needs to be dirty and evil, and so it is. The breaks keep us on our toes, and lead to new worlds. Surprisingly the solo, while backed by the customary gloom on “Arkaisk Kamp, Angrip!” (Arctic Struggle, Attack!) is flamboyant but it’s ok. Merciless riffs and vitriol soon dash any ray of hope as the process of grinding us down resumes. Negative and black atmospheres dominate. The spoken word and a distant, deathly choir add further fuel to the mass grave that is “Vi Som Ser I Mørket” (We who see you darkness). Small guitar touches add to the delight of this album. Overpowering, brutal and even epic moments combine, but the net result is the same. “Eklipse” (Eclipse) starts eerily with a plaintive dirge – its melancholic nature reminded me of Green Carnation. No such melancholy with “Roten Til All Ondskap” (The Root of All Evil), which hits us hard and brings us back to our senses with its furious and violent rendition. This is darkness personified. Like a disease slowly spreading, the track takes a turn and crawls to its termination. “Inni Menneskedryet” (Inside the Human Race) perpetuates the disease. It is done in a cloak of rapid-fire rock and black metal crawliness. This didn’t add anything new, but we are finally shaken up by the terminally sad and grey world of “Når Noen Tar Farvel” (When Someone Takes Their Leave). The saxophone returns and with the piano adds a devastating dimension, which I thought could have been developed more to great effect over the course of this album.
In summary “Kadaverin” is an impressive portrayal of foul and gloomy atmospheres. You really can’t ask for more than that.
(8/10 Andrew Doherty)