Jun 262023

(Andy Synn would like to recommend this gourmet feast from long-time NCS favourites Krigsgrav)

Recipe for success:

  • Start with a base of moody, atmospheric Black Metal – ideally with overtones of Agalloch and undertones of Enslaved
  • Add a dash (and a half) of doomy darkness of the post-Paradise Lost or Daylight Dies variety (other, equivalent substitutes are acceptable)
  • Top it off with liberal layers of majestic (ideally Finnish-flavoured) Melodic Death Metal melancholy

And then, if you’re very lucky, you might just end up with something half as good as Fires in the Fall.

I say “half as good” because… let’s face it… while knowing the right ingredients to use is one thing, making music – just like with the culinary crafts – is is far more of an art than a science, and just as there’s far more to being a chef than simply reading the recipe so there is far more to what Krigsgrav do here than simply throwing all their influences into a blender.

No, this is far more a case of a band trusting their instincts – part innate talent, part hard-earned experience – to tell them just what each track needs, whether that be an extra dose of distorted heaviness, a pinch of progressive melody, or a warm acoustic accent, such that even when you know that they’re cooking with familiar ingredients you can’t help but be impressed by the distinctive dish(es) they’ve created.

It certainly helps that your first impression of the album (not counting the evocative cover art, although they do say that “the first bite is with the eyes”) is such a strong one, as the seamless blend of bleak beauty, blackened fury, and doomy dynamism which makes up “An Everflowing Vessel” is such an instant delight to the senses.

But the fact that the subsequent six (or seven, if you happen to be in possession of the excellent bonus track, “When I’m Gone, Let the Wolves Come”) courses which follow each offer some clever, compelling twists on a classic recipe – be that the melancholy majesty and soaring leads of “The World We Leave Behind”, the doom-laden darkness of “Shadowlands”, or the heroic hooks and irresistible energy of “Journeyman” – is, arguably, even more impressive, as it demonstrates, without a doubt, that Krigsgrav are more than capable of satisfying even the most jaded and demanding of appetites.

Ultimately, if this doesn’t make at least some of your year-end lists – especially those who’ve enjoyed the likes of Fires in the Distance and Foretoken so far this year, but are looking for something will a little more bite and bombast – I’ll eat my hat. I just might need to make some room first.

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