Recently, I finally managed to catch up on some of the releases I missed the last couple of weeks. Wait, no, make that last couple of months. One of these was the latest album by Grá titled ‘Lycaon’ released under Avantgarde Music. Thanks to the video clip for ‘Flame of Hephaestus’ which got released a couple of months ago, this album (Grá’s fourth full-length album) was on my watch list for a while now. Especially seeing this will be my first experience with the band (I am going in fresh). Without further ado, let’s get in to it, shall we?
The album kicks off with the opening track ‘White City Devil’ a very Swedish sounding melodic death metal track with some black metal sauce drizzled over it. The longer I listen to the track, the more I am getting Dimension Zero vibes due to the harmonic guitar leads and vocals of Heljarmadr (yes, the vocalist from Dark Funeral). Again, very Swedish and I am digging it!
Following the opening track we reached earlier mentioned ‘Flame of Hephaestus’ which got a video clip release last year. A solid track with that has that lovely mid-tempo head bang able black metal flair to it. While writing this review and listening to both the album and video clip video, I notice that the mix on the album is different from the video clip. I’ve got to love that mastering magic! While we are at it, a big compliment for the mix of the album.
‘Torn Asunder’, the third track, followed the trend of delivering catchy mid-tempo black metal. Again, very head bang able, I think I am getting the hang of Grá and their style! The fourth track ‘Lycaon’ starts off slow and leads into yet another Swedish sounding head bang riff. The more time I spent with this album, the harder I found it to categorize them. Should it be labeled under melodic death or black metal? The fact that I find it hard to pinpoint them is probably the reason I am enjoying this album so much. Right after I wrote this sentence, I got greeted with a blast fueled tremolo section, so it seems I remain stuck in limbo.
In the middle of the album, we get greeted by a Bathory cover for the track ‘Chariots of Fire’. A solid take on this track, nothing more, nothing less! Following the cover we head to track six already titled ‘Ett avskedsbrev’ a track which did not really stick with me. Luckily, they follow it up with the slow and heavy chugmachine ‘Brännmärkt’. I bet this one hits HARD when it’s performed live!
We end the album with ‘Jaws of the Underworld’ an instrumental outro track with some solid drum work from Dimman. Very militaristic despite the cheesy sounding brass sounds.
Conclusion, a solid mid-tempo melodic death/black metal album with some solid tracks! Not groundbreaking, but just solid. And guess what? Solid is good.