Grá: Necrology of the Witch EP

Traditional black metal is something very difficult to get right. Fortunately Grá from Sweden are nailing it with their latest EP entitled Necrology of the Witch. The band had previously released their Helfard EP back in 2010 and a self-titled debut full-length in 2011, which you should definitely check out.  How about this one?

 

The disturbing intro, “In Cordibus Vestris,” sets the dark mood of the EP. Church bells are echoing in the distance, providing the necessary ambiance, before unearthly chants are brought forth to drag you down into the deepest and most bloodcurdling corner of Grá’s essence. The full horror hits you just after the intro and the title track takes over with its slithering, mid-tempo pace. They hammer down your ears without any remorse revealing all of their cruelty. The faster parts provide a nice change of pace and the clean chants aid in the enhancement of this hellish atmosphere that Grá have been so meticulously crafting.

 

 

This is where the interlude of the album “Οδεύοντας προς τη Στύγα”, loosely translated as “Marching towards the river Styx”, comes in with Grá providing another intriguing moment. The sounds of water and thunder transfer you into unknown territories within the concept of Grá, and finally the coin sound in the end is perfect, as we are guessing the sound of the coins are supposed to be those that the traveler has used to pay Charon, the ferryman of the underworld. Quite a nice touch. And it also leads to what is probably the most furious moment of this EP, the insane “Worms and Crows,” which sees the band building an absorbing background as they continue this assault with sheer brutality. Even the mid-pace segment of it still retains a lot of the anger and speed of the previous.

 

And that is when the most interesting and darkest moment of the EP appears. “Helfard II” finds Grá taking their time to conjure their bleakest and most punishing self. And they achieve that while at the same time taking on a more minimalist approach. The very structure of the track seems a bit more loose, while the eerie guitars unleash bitter, frost riffs and the drums are brought in and taken out of the arrangement whenever necessary. Finally, you cannot have a black metal EP and not include a cover. And you can't wrong if your track of choice is Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon.” Granted, it might be the obvious choice, but Grá’s performance on the historic song is more than rewarding, with the Swedes managing to keep the demonic ambiance and horrifying sickness of the track intact. Grá basically know what they are doing. Their black metal is raw, primitive, chaotic and horrifying, and in the Necrology of the Witch they truly do their best to bring all that together. Definitely a release you want to check out if you are a black metal fan.

 

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Written by Spryos

Grá: Necrology of the Witch EP
Unexploded Records
3.5 / 5