Krigsgrav – Waves of Degradation (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Krigsgrav

Album: Waves of Degradation

Label: Bindrune Recordings

Rating: 7/10

Krigsgrav. The name sounds like they’re from Scandinavia. They play a blend of atmospheric doomy black metal. Imagine my surprise when their Archives page tells me they’re from Texas. I suppose if Australia’s Mournful Congregation can release The June Frost, this isn’t too much of a stretch. Rooted primarily in atmospheric black metal, Krigsgrav don’t buy too heavily into the Cascadian sound of their northern neighbours, instead opting for a bleaker offering with touches of doom and folk.

Under Trembling Stars opens with gentle clean guitar reminiscent of Novembers Doom, soon charging into a rhythmic blackened section akin to latter-day Enslaved. Indeed, despite not truly being Viking or Pagan metal, the grasp of dynamics in both cleans and harshness is very similar to the Norwegian forebears. The clean vocals brought in midway through the song are impressive in the same way Leprous can command an explosive passage even with seeming delicacy. Son of the Stones calls to mind Havukruunu, applied through an atmo-black filter, bringing in the delicate touch of Agalloch throughout. Indeed, Agalloch’s Ashes Against the Grain is a notable comparison to the subtle lead guitar work portrayed here.

Closing track As The Color Fades From the Earth opens with a sample, it kind of sounds like Kris Kristofferson. It could well be, but more than that it invokes a kind of mixture between Kauan and Panopticon, leaning further on the latter as the song progresses, complete with what sounds like a hurdy-gurdy, just because this is the 21st century and black metal can handle it now. Whilst good diversity is present on each of the four main tracks, I’ve found that many of them do tend to run together over the course of the album, and there are few passages which really stand out and grab the attention of the listener. However, keeping the record under fifty minutes helps to alleviate this from becoming too much of an issue.

Overall, this is a solid album showing a lot of great elements, solid melodies and enough diversity of influences to prevent the kind of homogenization which is endemic in today’s black metal. The sole downfall is that the band remains quite good throughout, without ever really demonstrating moments to true excellence. I’m yet to check out Krigsgrav’s prior work, but the potential is definitely there and I look forward to exploring their work further.

7/10

Check them out here: http://krigsgrav.bandcamp.com/album/waves-of-degradation

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