Grief of Emerald
It All Turns to Ashes

Black metal has been a very hit or miss genre for me.  My main experiences lie with Immortal, and the popular and oft-criticized Dimmu Borgir.  But I enjoy branching out from the death/grind spectrum of metal that dominates my speakers, and decided to grab the new Grief of Emerald.  After doing a little research, it turns out these guys are quite the veterans.  They have been around under various names for over 20 years, and after a few spins it’s obvious that experience is a driving force behind this album.

One aspect of metal I have really enjoyed, and one that’s none too common in the death/grind camp, is keyboards.  The ones used here are phenomenal, and add an excellent back element to the music; that probably helps to explain why I have enjoyed Dimmu Borgir so much.   When employed as they are here, their interplay between the guitars and drums is something to behold, and the album as a whole would have been much weaker without them.  Vocalist Johnny Lehto, who also handles the guitar work, has a solid black metal rasp, but thankfully one that’s none too grating.  The other half of the guitars is handled by Christer Bergqvist, and there’s a good amount of icy solos on display to please fans of the genre.  The album is not dominated by them, as the enjoyment here is the overall blending of the various elements as opposed to a shred fest.

The title track starts out in a manner that I’ve always been a sucker for: a solid guitar groove and sixteenth-notes pounding the kick drums.  It’s one of the best tracks on the album.  The music does get a little overly-blasty at times (“Stormlegion”), which can add a sense of sameness, but overall this album really hits on all cylinders.  The production is fantastic, so fans of back alley production black metal might want to look elsewhere.  The album clocks in at just over 40 minutes with most tracks around the 4 minute mark, which allows for the songs to evolve with overstaying their welcome.  As winter descends on much of the country, this is a fitting soundtrack for this time of year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
December 24th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I have one of their early albums, Nightspawn, and they had a terrific grasp of melody back then. I just wish they would have dumped the cheesy anti Christian stuff by now, there have to be more convincing ways of communicating a theme


  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    One of my early reviews for digitalmetal was christian termination great stuff- need to revisit that and everything since


  3. Commented by: Stiffy

    Man I haven’t seen this bands name pop up in years.


  4. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this is great, i can’t believe people still play black metal that sounds like this.


  5. Commented by: Erik T

    Picked this up recently . God of carnage is such a killer song.


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