Last weekend I came across a pair of songs from a forthcoming self-titled EP by a mysterious Norwegian black metal band named Gjendød, and the songs were so immediately gripping that I wasted no time throwing them your way in one of our Shades of Black posts. One thing led to another, and now I’m very happy to bring you a streaming premiere of the entire EP.
I still don’t know anything more about the band than I did last weekend. They prefer to keep their identities secret and let the music speak for itself — and it does that quite powerfully.
I’ll repeat what I wrote earlier about the first two songs on the EP — “Evig svart røyk” and “Menneskeavl”. If we could plug the energy of these tracks into electrical grids, we could decommission vast numbers of power plants — though we wouldn’t do much to reduce global warming, because these songs are hot as hell. Propelled by furious blasting percussion and pulsating bass notes, they deliver a head-whipping flurry of high tremolo riffs that prove to be as catchy as they are incinerating, with dynamic breaks in the action that keep you from being completely overwhelmed by the onslaught. It’s an eye-popping adrenaline ride with flesh-scarring vocal savagery, too.
The other two songs — “Forknytte tunger” and “Likdans” — are further proof that whoever is behind Gjendød know what the hell they’re doing. In “Forknytte tunger” the rhythm section once again get your blood pumping with furious, blazing-fast drum munitions and a prominent bass presence. When the band are moving at high speed, the riffs generate a sandstorm of rapidly writhing notes that are as savage as the vocal tirades. But as in the earlier tracks, Gjendød temper their demonic fury with changes of pace, using the slower sections to deliver disturbing and dissonant guitar machinations.
By contrast, “Likdans” opens slowly, and eventually moves at the pace of a stately processional. But despite the slower pacing, it may be the darkest, the most malignant, and the most disorienting of the four tracks. It generates an unearthly atmosphere of palpable dread and cold hunger — and when the song eventually does accelerate, it spawns images of a carnivorous demonic horde in a feeding frenzy. The instrumental conclusion to the song is also fittingly nightmarish.
Both terrifying and hallucinatory, ingeniously conceived and expertly performed, Gjendød is a very impressive debut. Hopefully it is simply the first of many releases to come. It’s available for digital download now via Bandcamp at a price you name. It will be released on tape next week by Darker Than Black Records, and on CD by Hellthrasher Productions in June.