Single- and bloody-minded Norwegian duo Gjendød have spewed forth a veritable slew of releases over the past four years, third full-length ‘Angrep’ taking its proud place in their stunning discography of death-worshipping blackness alongside debut ‘Nedstigning’, its follow-up ‘Krigsdøger’ and a handful of demos (which were collated onto the rather mandatory compilations ‘Evig Svart Hat’ and ‘Skygger Fra Dødsriket’). Throw in two 7” vinyl releases – an EP and split – also unleashed during this year of plague and tyranny and it’s clear that, for a relatively new entity, Gjendød are feeling inspired and have been busy doing the devil’s essential work.
As the title suggests, ‘Angrep’, which translates as ‘Attack’, packs serious punch into its relatively-brief 28 minutes, arguably their most bludgeoning and frenzied emission to date but still imbued with the trademark dynamism, variety and flair that enables Gjendød to stand out from the crowd. No messing around here, no filler, no fat, no compromise. This is one of those albums where the distinction between Black Metal and Death Metal can be almost negligible, such is the oftentimes crushing and pummelling nature of proceedings.
However, it is black to the core. of course – black as Satan’s soul. Each track is crammed full of subtle – and not so subtle – melodicism, rendering the album as engaging as it is disturbing. Feral, subhuman vocals send shivers down the spine, accompanying crashing, hammering drums and ingenious, angular, shimmering riffs that taunt and tease, mock and ridicule, arcing through the speakers like shards, short but lethal … death by a thousand cuts. Although most of the album is dense and congested, those prominent, rumbling bass fluctuations that have become synonymous with Gjendød’s music are also present and correct if one listens closely – and why wouldn’t you?
In many ways, this is another perfect Black Metal album. It’s harsh and dark and filthy; brutal, crude and caked in grime, but there is an innate sense of beauty in its ugliness. The purity of evil distilled and channelled by two demons who keep getting stronger. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the uncanny prowess with which so much detail and vigour have been condensed into the eight tracks. But there’s no showmanship or arrogance to be found on ‘Angrep’. To the contrary, this is a natural-sounding, organic blast of earthy, hostile, malformed Black Metal malevolence from Trondheim, the gift that keeps on giving.