AN NCS PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): KRIGSGRAV — “WAVES OF DEGRADATION”
I had not really explored Krigsgrav’s music until Panopticon’s Austin Lunn included The Carrion Fields on his 2014 year-end list at our site, praising it as “a fantastic release” with “the unique sound that American folk/Black metal has become known for, but with some Brave Murder Day thrown in there for good measure”. Now, almost two years on from that well-received third album, this Texas-based band have signed with Bindrune Recordings, which will soon be releasing their new album Waves of Degradation. In advance of its April 1 release date, we bring you a full stream of the new album.
Krigsgrav’s partnership with Bindrune is a natural one. The label has released excellent albums by such bands as Panopticon, Alda, and Falls of Rauros, and Waves of Degradation will undoubtedly appeal to fans of those bands. Though Krigsgrav’s early works embraced a raw, vicious form of orthodox black metal, they have now well and truly left those days behind. Although the band still amplify the intensity of their sound by integrating the vibration of tremolo chords, blast-beat flurries, and high, agonizing shrieks (along with arid roars), the strength of their music (and its emotional power) now lies in the somber yet sublime atmospheric quality of their folk-influenced melodies.
The folk influence in the music is underscored by the frequent appearance of acoustic guitar as well as the well-timed use of violin and mouth harp (and in a couple of very brief instances, by clean vocal harmonies). And although there’s an edge of distortion in the heavier riffing in these songs, the production usually gives the instruments a clarity of sound that allows the high lead guitar melodies to shine, often with a shimmering, ethereal quality. And there are some wonderful guitar-and-bass duets in the music, as well as a wistful, entrancing acoustic guitar-and-violin duet in an instrumental interlude (“To Rest beneath the Waters”) that precedes the album’s long finale, “The Failures of Man”.
While the album includes passages of stirring passion and haunting beauty (as well as some fluid instrumental interludes that get close to prog-metal territory), there is an overarching air of isolation and melancholy in the album’s panoramic atmospherics. As you listen to this largely mid-paced music, it’s not hard to imagine weary souls crossing the plains, hiking through rain-drenched primordial forests, or crossing ice-bound mountain passes. The music is both earthy and mystical, storming and plaintive.
Of the album’s five tracks, all of them but that instrumental interlude are long, falling between 10 and 17 minutes. But it’s very easy to lose track of time once you begin listening. The songs are constructed with a lot of care and attention to detail, with variations in intensity and volume, as well as movements between physically arresting blackened charges and slow, rippling waves of melancholy melody that seem like something from a dream of death. It’s an album that’s well worth full immersion in the spells that it casts.
In other Krigsgrav news, on April 1 the band will be embarking on a Spring 2016 East Coast U.S. tour with Giant of the Mountain (who themselves have a new EP coming in May named The Empty Quarter). The dates can be found below our stream of Waves of Degradation.
Krigsgrav / Giant of the Mountain Spring Tour Dates:
04/01 – Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s
04/02 – Chicago, IL @ LiveWire Lounge
04/03 – Cincinnati, OH @ Rake’s End
04/04 – Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
04/05 – Albany, NY @ The Fuze Box
04/06 – Burlington, VT @ TBA
04/07 – Manchester, NH @ Shaskeen Pub
04/08 – Portland, ME @ Space Gallery
04/09 – Belchertown, MA @ House Show
04/10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Black Bear Bar
04/11 – Philadelphia, PA @ TBA
04/12 – Baltimore, MD @ The Depot
04/13 – Richmond, VA @ 25 WATT
04/14 – Chapel Hill. NC @ Local 506
04/15 – Atlanta, GA @ TBA
04/16 – Jackson, MS @ Big Sleepy’s
04/17 – Dallas, TX @ Reno’s Chop Shop
Truly a stunning album. Gonna have to dig into their earlier stuff now too.