This Australian band’s debut in 2016, “A Perpetual Descent”, plunged listeners into a quagmire of atmospheric murky blackened horror linking outright riffing malfeasance with dramatic soundscapes that surrounded the songs on multiple levels. Not much has changed generally as the band releases an EP of three tracks that leads us down familiar ghoulish arteries paved by despairing riffs and a multitude of vocal styles, by the very talented Magur, that really set this release apart from other atmospheric doom ridden black metal efforts I have heard over recent years.
Opening the EP is “Null” with its bleak riff steeped in emotion before giving way to a deluge of drumming supported by heavy double kick as Magur’s vocals languish in the background via a low groan initially. Transforming to a funereal like aura the vocals undergo a change to a lower croak, barely audible creating a theatrical approach before letting loose a screech and increase in ferocity with the blasting chaos in the music that ensues. The way the opening song morphs through ever shifting blackened silhouettes is seamless as the song has pagan qualities as well especially due to the borderline spoken vocals as my mind was drawn to cult Czech Republic act Root and the vocal acrobatics of Big Boss. Don’t misinterpret my focus on the vocals as being the only standout here as they’re not, the music allows the vocals to change due to the ever changing fluidity and intensity of the riffing and especially the drumming which is first-rate.
A pure black metal riff starts “Antimeta”, stripped raw and embittered the track has an elongated vocal scream as the track has an anguish riddled ethos with unrelenting pace. The switch in tempo is smoothly done giving the music a very melodic feel at this point before easing down gradually into a mournful section. The spoken vocals are eerie especially when the croaking style joins in too as I thought about references to Sólstafir alongside others such as Wolves In The Throne Room and Agalloch to give you some idea of what to expect from the band.
The EP ends with “Force Majeure” and again you get that unerring sense of desolation on the guitar riffing as the track is bolstered by sporadic blasting centred on the multifaceted vocals. The song is intense with a gravitas that is locked to the powering drum work and the grief stricken vocal shrieks that meander around the song like tendrils of choking fog. As the song evolves it drops into a sorrowful phase where the guitar work has a doom characteristic that is soaked in sadness made more so by the macabre vocal addition.
A soulful and heart crushing atmospheric black metal release Greytomb epitomise this genre with an EP that is easily a match for any of the major players within the genre.