I first learned of Krigsgrav almost four years ago when Panopticon’s Austin Lunn included their third album 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”. Two years on from that well-received third album, we had the privilege of premiering their next full-length in 2016, Waves of Degradation, which moved me to write: “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.”
Krigsgrav have undergone some changes since then, amicably shrinking their line-up to guitarist/vocalist J. Coleman and drummer/bassist David Sikora, and they’ve recorded a new album named Leave No Path to Follow. The changes go beyond the line-up, as reflected in the music on this new record. But the emotional power of the songs is undiminished, even as the band’s musical evolution has continued.
Two songs from the album have been made available to the public so far, and we’re adding a third one today, the last original track on the album before a closing cover of Katatonoa’s “Brave” (a choice that itself will tell you something about the band’s current direction). Its name is “The End (Forever Mourne)“, presented here with video accompaniment.
The wonderful cover art for this new album by the tremendously talented Luciana Nedelea beautifully captures the moods and visions of the music, and the imagery in the video provides an effective match for this new song as well.
Rain falls on dark urban settings in the video, and the song also creates an atmosphere of sodden gloom and isolation. Ghostly lights illuminate the barren buildings and shadowed trees, and chiming notes ring out over long, craggy bass reverberations and waves of tension-ratcheting guitar, as the vocals vent the sound of harrowing pain and the leads express a feeling of loneliness and loss.
Near the mid-way point in this long and immersive piece, the band add fuel to the song’s intensity with a burst of thunderous percussion, as a foreshadowing of more hard-driving and exhilarating sounds to come. Yet, the moodiness of the music is never far away as the surge of the song ebbs and flows, and as the vocals move from wrenching shrieks to anguished roars, even as a certain ghostly brightness sometimes shines from the beautifully forlorn melodies as a reflection of resilience.
The doom-laden darkness and penetrating atmospheric quality of the song are threads that run through the other tracks that have been released thus far, as are the vibrancy and haunting memorability of the melodies. These songs are deep spellbinders, with such powerful emotional resonance that they linger in the mind long after they’ve first wrapped you in their embrace.
Leave No Path to Follow was mixed and mastered by Jason Walton, and it will be released on September 22nd via Krigsgrav‘s Bandcamp. Below you’ll find the Bandcamp and Facebook links, the album’s track list, and streams of all three songs now available for listening.
01 Leave No Path To Follow – The Withering
02 Strength Through Wounding
03 Forging With Broken Hands
04 Dark Pools
05 The End (Forever Mourne)