It seems that this year there has been no shortage of kvlt edge-lords thinking it is clever releasing albums over the festering period. It’s not like most of them will find their way into the few remaining record shops around so guess there’s nothing stopping them. Similarly we are not all about praising Santa or any of that bah humbug rubbish but a bit of a bloody break would be nice. To tell the truth most of them were sent off with a flea in their ear and told to come back at a more sensible time but we gave Nortt whose 4th album Endelight is due out on 29th Dec a hall pass as he is no silly kid and to be fair a bit special. Also this is the Danes 1st album in ten years so I was very happy to dip into it and see what he was up to. The good news is such is the nature of this beast if you are playing it on New Year’s Day it’s going to help rather than hamper any hangover you are going to have.

These are songs as declared by one of the titles once translated for “praising the darkness.” Slow and funereal blackened doom that is incredibly depressive in nature. Not for those wearing party hats and grinning like goons that’s for sure. Cold ambience seeps in and dark ritualistic atmosphere is immediately installed. Heavy austere tones crush in, the maestro is at his piano hitting a baroque melody and his gurgling sinister roars snarl over the top as the music laboriously meanders away.  It’s short but creates impact as do each of the 9 tracks here. At first I thought they were all too fragmentary and would have preferred a long continuous piece. I can still see the appeal of that but obviously this is not Nortt’s modus-operandi but crafting short depressive dirges works admirably for him. Nortt is a master at icy, vein numbing melodies and there are no shortage of them here no matter what length they are constructed over. Indeed the shortest number at just over 2 minutes ;Kisteglad’ is a mesmerising piece of ominous synth work sounding like it could have escaped from the end of a certain John Carpenter classic, where only the bodies remain entombed in frozen slumber forevermore.

“Haunting” is a very good way to describe these soundscapes, they will linger like ghosts long after they have finished.  The guitar on ‘Fra hæld til intet’ has the feel of an ice capped Western as they jangle with incredibly mournful pathos, more coffins are definitely needed. Descending into the tomb of ‘Eftermæle’ one gets the feel from the mesmerising repetition that the funeral is not about to begin but that it has been going on forever and is never ending. It’s quite beautiful peaking in for the duration and witnessing it.  Gravrøst sees booming footsteps descending and plodding through the bleak desolate tundra, feeling like history of an aeon is progressing in their wake. A huge sense of emotion is expertly crafted through the utter minimalism which has everything swirling like the mists of time itself. Vocals growl out over the same plodding beat on ‘Støv for vinden’ and this ‘dust for the wind’ eerily blows and billows out sending shivers down the spine. Guitar here and atmosphere does remind a little of Esoteric but seriously there is little here to compare the uniqueness of the cold touch of the music. By the time we reach the final ‘Endelight’ the darkness is manifest but the music is not about malevolence in any shape or form just a ghostly shroud descending on mankind’s ruin and as we somehow survive through everything that 2017 has thrown at us it seems like this is its perfect epitaph.

(8/10 Pete Woods)