gespenst – forfald (2016)

whoa. this is a glorious day for black metal. gespenst is a new-coming duo of a danish (genfærd, guitars and synth) and a french (galskab, bass and vocals) musician who also play in two other bands. and their debut “forfald” blesses us with four lengthy songs of black metal beauty.

the album opens up in an old-school classical black metal fashion, with tremolo & blast beat and this could not be any more misleading. as furious and accomplished are the pacey moments, very few henceforward, the band really shine as the tempo drops. the second track “revelation of maggots” is a shining example of what the band aimed to do, the music overall is slow, sometimes painfully so, including lengthy atmospheric/psychedelic/doom-ey passages.

the song writing appears to be quite personal and anything but stereotypical, allowing time for the melodies to develop. instead of bombarding the listener with ever-changing themes, the duo opt for repetition and theme development. this results in a shivering atmosphere and lingering / haunting melodies long after the album ends. like a good wine with a long finish. guitar dominates the proceedings, laying the melodies and atmosphere, supported by a heavily toned bass and toned-down throaty vocals. there are few moments of synth, effects and samples. the session drummer andreas joen provides a precise, firm, organic and restrained drum work, occasionally shining and delivering extra touches. this seems to be a general approach for the band; while technically accomplished, they do not show off technicality (as several bands attempt and some succeed) at the expense of atmosphere and continuity.

an exceptional, rather short black metal experience of melancholy and horror.

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