gra-coverThere’s bands which „lift“ you up. Bands, whose music injects so much energy in the first few seconds, that you have the feeling that you can turn the world upside down. But there are also bands that will take you through a whole rollercoaster of feelings you are capable of, they will raise you up and bury you, they will delight you and make you cry, and when their music stops playing you feel the mixed emotion of completeness and void. It leaves flickering thoughts in your head and the desire to hear again, so you can catch something unheard and unexplored. GRÁ are from this second type.

In addition, over the years, GRÁ managed to build their own style. So familiar, that even if you’re not their fan, even if you haven’t memorized their art by heart, you will always be able to distinguish them among the rest of the bands in the extreme scene. And I can say that ‘Väsen’ absolutely confirms my statement. The question here isn’t how GRÁ this album is, but how a band can go beyond all the constraints, imposed by the clichés of a style, and remain true to themselves. So true to themselves, that you feel pain from the beauty and the depth of the music. And the mentioned style, provided by GRÁ, is even richer, more sincere and more real.

‘Väsen’ is pure Swedish black metal, containing all of the rage and variety of the style, refined for decades. At the same time it brings that typical GRÁ soul. Full-blooded, breathing, telling its story. Although it’s saturated to pain with the familiar dusty, gravest, grim-gray GRÁ coldness, I personally feel ‘Väsen’ somehow „lighter“, more breathing, and with a more ethereal structure. The album really is like something which separated from the whole and lived it’s own full-blooded life, but still retained the spirit of the original, remaining firmly connected with its roots.

Death here is a new form of life, a new life filled with melancholy and yearning for the lost. But it’s also filled with rage over the inability to return what’s happening. And finally the reception. In the sound of the mild acoustic guitar, in whose heart throbs passion, but it sounds minor and sorrowful… And everything overflows into eternity. In a white noise, into timelessness. Into ethereality…

As for the „technical part“… Contrary to the usual tracklisting of albums, which usually start with the strongest and most ear-catching song, here (at least in my opinion) the best is kept for the final. Just like the seven-minute title track that is ‘Väsen’, in which you can hear Mortifero‘s vocals. It starts furiously, so it can drag you only after a minute to the bottom with its deep dark aura that thickens the air. Mortifero‘s voice is heard somewhere in the distance, wandering, mixed with the airiness of the keyboard, it creates the atmosphere of mystery. And when the music reaches its peak and is ready to overflow into a crescendo, everything suddenly ends in the peaceful elegy and serenity of the acoustic guitar.

I kind of started from the end to the beginning. The opening song ‘Till Sörjerskorna’ really is quite provocative as a beginning of a GRÁ album with the included in it electronic elements, but the end gives us just that caress and relaxation, which we’re used to receive from GRÁ‘s music. And that moment is included in almost all of the songs on the record. Slowly, almost lazily in places. It’s pretty interesting, that even here the tradition of ‘Ramsvarta Tankar’ with the unequal tacts is continued, I would even say, that ‘The Devil’s Tribe’ is entirely unequal, which gives her a unique tribe, shamanic-witchy temperament.

Which is my favorite song? I can hardly say that, but the title track ‘Väsen’ totally stands out, ‘Hveðrungs Mær’ with its relaxing recitative in the beginning and the total Scandinavian cold and aggression, from which the composition is built, ‘Gjallarhorn’ with it’s electronic heart, which beats in melodicity, sadness and anger at the same time. As a hug in a moment of despair. This is undoubtedly one unique, diverse and perfectly mixed album, despite the keyboards and the female vocals, with the typical for GRÁ „hard“, strengthened strings, which both giving such an epic mood and saturation, without making it pompous.

If you’ve already trusted GRÁ, do it again! GRÁ will never mislead you!

‘Väsen’ will be released via the Swedish label Carnal Records on a CD and in digital format on April 27th, also will be released in LP format this autumn.



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