The true Scandinavian Jazzy Black Metal.
Swedish band Bergraven started out as a sort of “regular” black metal band, and its last album was released 10 years ago.
Already going into unknown territories, the album is creative but not so much as this new one. Well, let’s think for a minute: 10 years is a LOT OF TIME to hone one’s skills, and from regular, it went to UNIQUE.
Det framlidna minnet may be the first album in history to convert an old thing like Jazz/Progressive death metal (think about Atheist and Death) into something totally Black and European, in this case the solo albums of Ihsahn come to mind. But different to that artist the things here get really complicated and experimental, but never ever losing its Black Metal soul. Maybe because the basic traits of the style are maintained intact, like harsh vocals, the buzzing sound of guitars and the organic drums. Then get those traits, put the strangest tempos into it, and layers upon layers of sax and some acoustic guitar and then you have what Bergraven was always supposed to be.
Det framlidna minnet is a chef-d’œuvre of the originality, a difficult album but a really pleasant one to immerse oneself into.
The first track is a Zappa-based craziness just to start out with Allt, which, although summarizing the album’s sound is not the best song. It’s really good though.
The crazy atmosphere changes when Den följsamma plågan starts to unveil what the album is all about. The intimist traits of jazz and experimental songs with the density of Black Metal, very interchangeable and mid-tempo. And that’s the subtle difference of the band compared to other bands. Believe me, I listen to strange stuff all the time. As a black metal band, things don’t go like a crazy train here. Maybe fans of the most brutal and war-like metal will find this very, very bland, but this is the exactly charming about Bergraven.
Then the songs start to clock in at 8-plus-minute, three in sequence: starting with Minnets melankoli: superficially it’s not very different than Den följsamma plågan, but a good look into it, shows that, for dilletantes, the structure maybe the same, but the song goes from pure hate to idyllic without further explanation. Real negative atmosphere broken into acoustic guitars, just to go back to complicated bellows with quasi- free jazz tempos.
Leendet av hans verk, the second one, starts very Zappa, but in a moment changes to Burzum , into repetitive mode, but without the synth sound. A piano-like sound is used instead, then just to gain an acoustic guitar, clean vocals, very progressive and just to finish as the most hateful black metal that it is. But in the midst a mysterious sax takes place a somewhat Opeth sound (yes, it IS THAT crazy), and the Mayhem-like sound take everything by assault. Mate, this is totally MY THING!
Last in line of the “trilogy” (there’s no trilogy, I invented it) is Den dödes stigar that starts very heavy , blacky with that strange negativity that permeates the whole opus, blast beats along with a riff that dies out in a iteration of peaceful ambience that gains some elements, but at the end of the day, never changes, going over and over until the sound fades out. It’s a trip. That happens more or less from the middle of the song to the part that is somewhat sad. One beat here, another there, very slow-paced.
The track 7 is called Till priset av vårt liv: think about this image (and try to translate into sound). Using the very same materials, Bergraven deconstructs the building, just to build it up again, but with a crazy architecture. Clocking in at almost 11 minutes, some elements of Death and Frank Zappa (no, I’m not drunk) appears with full force, somewhat sounding too crazy to be assimilated, and it is, but conversely with a repetitive chorus that sticks to the mind. Go figure. The solo is pure Death from the albums like Human and Individual Thought Patterns. Simple perfection.
How it ends? With an outro that is the extended version of the intro, with a segue but “backwards”.
How does inventive and dedicate someone have to be to create such a marvelous and mature state of art?
I don’t know about the other publications but here on Dark Souls United this album will get a… check out the rating…
Det framlidna minnet by Bergraven is out on Nordvis.
(Daniel “Roderick Totentanz” Death)
Please, follow Dark Souls United on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DSUblog
Also you can communicate with us directly through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darksoulsunited