Once more I ride off into the lands where being so crushingly monolingual leaves me feeling utterly inadequate. On the plus side though, it means that this debut by Danish band Geistaz’ Ika really does have to speak to me through the music and compositions.
This opens out with a calm but strong acoustic number; a little scene setting, a chill to the melody and the impression of breath on the air and twilight through trees. ‘Nar Solen Bloder Rod’ then thrusts itself into the quiet. It has a harsh riff that oddly reminds me of old Ulver until a haunting melody line shadows the riff and clean backing vocals accentuate it. It is a fine, determined and cold song with a classic Nordic razor sharp riff. It unveils lots of variation too, chaotic vocals, acoustic threads and smooth twists to the tempo. Very impressive in fact. Very. ‘I Den Spejlvendte Verden’ has a strong Sargeist feel in the use of the melodic riff but a guitar run that is a strange and almost discordant style. Again it wanders into acoustic tributaries, quieter moments and haunting clean vocals but perhaps loses its way a little here and there.
‘Dodens Horeunge’ the third track over eight minutes (actually over eleven this time) is where the Geistaz’ Ika formula begins to settle in. What we get is indubitably skilfully woven cloth; the particular adeptness in dropping from harsh riffs to acoustic passages is never jarring. They blend tempo shifts and clean backing vocals with skill. They evoke an air of awe somehow mixing old Ulver and Sargeist with Fen and Winterfylleth but with a Nordic accent. All well and good but by the time I’m halfway into the closing eleven minutes of ‘Tagedans’ the album has seemed a whole lot longer than it’s respectable less than forty five minutes run time and I’m not sure how to explain it other than it’s something to do with my usual vague idea of a sense of journey to songs like this. Unlike someone like, say, Soar, this takes you to a place and continues to describe the world around that spot where I’m yearning to know what is through the next trees, over the next hill, along the cold river… It doesn’t build to anything, or travel through events to reach a place. It repeats its descriptions of where you stand with slight variations.
Not to be misunderstood; for a debut this is pretty impressive in the instrumental and vision department. It shows confidence, intelligence and a genuine feel for what they do and what they want to achieve. They also feel like a band who will move forward rapidly. I hope so as there is a lot to recommend here, but a little compositional work to be thought about perhaps.
Well worth a look though.