Galdr is straight ahead no bullshit atmospheric black metal with all of the misty archaic heathenism of the old Norse and Slavic reigns with a melodic edge that manages to tear through the clammy funereal plume of mystical energy residual from dark times long past but not forgotten ( and, I might add, not too far removed from some of the dense québécois BM of late). Just a slight sample of “Oath of Blood” or “Iss Og Odal ” will easily render those most stubbornly resistant to atmospheric black metal to be weakened by the cryptic throaty vocal belts of Pagan passion and the overwhelming sense of a return to basic black metal form presented herein…i.e. boiling over with supernatural evil and a drowning majestic display of intensity. Nothing about Galdr is pretentious or expected, it just IS and will certainly make an impression of some sort, more than likely a sledgehammer blow leaving one frozen over and completely enthralled if they are a genuine black metal fan of the real classic tradition.
One thing aside from the brute intensity that stood out for myself was that the song lengths ,aside from the two very Burzum-like ambient shorts, average on the 6 to 8 minute range allowing for full penetration of the listeners mind as opposed to short raw bursts. Another facet of the album to point out ( which I actually find to be a highlight) is that some songs such as the title track draw upon an obvious Burzum influence that is more so of the Hvis Lyset Tarr Oss sound than the less developed but still definitive Det Som Engang Var. Both of these aspects collectively work to seductively creep up on you through the deliberate placing of twilight treble melodies, hints of synth in the muddied background that periodically reveals itself sort of like partial spectral manifestations passing through a suffocating heavy film of cold moist damnation that they waste no time in abducting one’s undivided attention and maintaining that lethal strangle hold. And much to my surprise Galdr also pulls off a slight post black metal endeavor with the first long track “Calling Out Into A Frozen Void” that presents itself as an almost upbeat indie rhythm driven song that still manages to hook me rhythmically as it shape shifts gradually into a rusty deathlike hymn further aided by the hollow cavernous feel of the production.
Overall this album is pretty top notch for what it is. If you enjoyed some of the Profound Lore releases a few years back, Sepulchral Productions releases, early Satyricon, Burzum, Branikald, and so on then Galdr will not likely disappoint. In a time when stale cliche has thwarted progress we should certainly reward those that keep the heart of past glories beating in the palm of their hands.
Here’s a link for the title track to give you a chance to hear this for yourself:
I would also recommend checking out his S/T full-length form a few years back, also on Darker Than Black, if you also enjoy this release. I’ve only sampled it from DTB but would like to go back and give it a real listen but it does sound as if it’s along the same lines in terms of sound and style.