Cedric : Most of you will of course know Heljarmadr as the current vocalist of Dark Funaral, but a good ten years ago he also founded the band Grá. In this band he also handles the guitar (and in the past even the bass), which is an instrument that he clearly feels comfortable playing. ‘Väsen’ is already the third album by this Swedish band, alongside some EP’s, but for me this is the first encounter with their music. Grá leaves a good impression with their ferocious, yet regularly melodic, style of black metal.
I should really get digging into the discography of the band, because the music on ‘Väsen’ sounds more than reasonable and leaves a taste for more. The black metal definately has that typical Swedish ring to it, yet I never get the feeling to be listening to some uninspired copycat material within the genre. Thanks to the great alternation between ferociously blasting parts, heavy pounding riffs and the grimm melodies that are beautifully integrated into the material. Of course do not expect easy-listening or cheesy melodies, yet the band succeeds in creating a vibe and a feel in their songs that will stick in your head. Just listen to a song like ‘King Of Decay’, for example, if you are looking for some great agressive-sounding blackened fury. The recently released single ‘Krig’ on the other hand, introduces us to another side of the band. More room to breathe, more atmosphere and even some slight references to a band like Burzum once in a while.
Productionwise the album received the ideal sound for the presented music on it. All instruments and details in the songs remain clear and defined, yet the whole never loses its grimm and raw vibe. Even in the faster-paced songs the whole remains tight-sounding, but luckily the result never gets too polished or modern. This is definately how I would like a black metal record to sound like in the year 2018!
Dark Funeral never really grabbed my attention and their music always seemed a bit dull to me, but what their current frontman presents us here with Grá is a lot more to my liking. In my opininon, Grá sounds more intelligent than Dark Funeral, but never loses its touch with the raw primal feel that is so typical of the genre. I will not go as far to call this album a masterpiece, but fans of (very) decent Swedish black metal will not be disappointed when adding ‘Väsen’ to their collection.