Feb 162023

We could have a long (and probably inconclusive) conversation about why so much of second-wave black metal spawned descriptions that characterized the music as “cold” or “icy”, and why those descriptions persisted into the present day as thousands of bands carried the traditions forward.

The answer doesn’t seem obvious. A lot of the music might strike first-time observers as fiery and frenzied, more violently confrontational, savage, and nihilistic than the stuff of freezing moons. Riotous blast-beats, boiling tremolo riffs, and scalding screams don’t seem calculated to lower the temperature.

One explanation might lie in the grim and grievous emotions sometimes channeled by such sonic onslaughts. Where those sounds create moods of unyielding cruelty, despair, and the surrender of all hope, or the merciless presence of inevitable death, then it becomes more evident why people feel no warmth despite the super-heated deliveries.

Such thoughts have come to mind in listening to the music of the Dutch band Grafhond, a duo consisting of Graaf Graf and Nachtvorst who first began their Grafhond collaboration in 2017, resolved to seek a deeper and darker emotional connection in their black metal than some of the more formulaic, antiseptic, or sunlit styles that have branched away in the modern age. Continue reading »