Grafvitnir – “Keys To The Mysteries Beyond” Album Review (Black Metal)

Keys To The Mysteries Beyond

We go now to Sweden to clear the country of most of its forestland.  Why?  The answer lies in the Keys To The Mysteries Beyond; the blistering 5th full-length album from Sweden’s Grafvitnir.

From Carnal Records: 

“With the band’s fifth album, GRAFVITNIR are back from the frostbitten shadows of Scandinavia to eternally ignite the concealed spiritual Fire of the descendants of the Serpent, and to obtain the ancient Keys to the Mysteries Beyond.  The scales of the age-old Serpent glisten through the holographic Universe, and glimpses of unseeable vistas flash before the inner eyes of the spiritual seeker.”
Ten highly scathing, brutal tracks grace the album clocking in at just over 40 minutes.  With the exception of the short interlude, “Crossing The Abyss,” the album is pretty much breakneck pace from point A to point B.  As a matter of fact, I think it’s one of the faster black metal releases I’ve heard in a while.  Furthermore, there isn’t a rotten moment on the album.

Musically the band relies on incredibly rapid tremolo picking and unconventional chord changes to keep things a bit interesting.  There’s really no relying on strings or keyboards here.  Keys To The Mysteries Beyond is straight, pure and raw in its finest form.  The vocals are sickening like a black, slithering snake.  A pretty cool effect happens when the vocals taper off at the end of the line as they then seem to blend in with the guitars like a brutal wind fading.  
Ok.  I can’t help but notice a couple of Black Sabbath-esque moments.  See “Eye of Lucifer” at 31:22.  But that’s just one example of how the monotony is often broken within the album.  The drums are frequently changed with the drummer’s use of the ride cymbal and the “off-beat.”
I think that stylistically, Keys To The Mysteries Beyond has the band’s feet buried in the snow that also covers the rest of Scandanavia.  It’s proof that the influence isn’t purely identifiable by one specific country, contrary to the late 80s/90s death metal sound that Sweden basically created with Entombed and Dismember.  
So… pretty highly recommended for those black metal purists who like to put one fist in the past and one foot in the snow after the forests are destroyed by the occult work of Grafvitnir.

Keys To The Mysteries Beyond is available now through Carnal Records.

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