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Review by Alex on May 12, 2018.
This is what happens when you take two great bands and combine the elements that set them apart from each other whilst throwing in some Burzum (don’t believe me? See “Krig”; tell me that doesn’t sound like “Glemselens elv” off Belus), Inquisition and synth-wave elements. Heljarmadr seems to even have brought over some of Dark Funeral’s charm to Grá; some of the riffing on Väsen particularly on the opening track resembles that of Lord Ahriman. Even the structure of the song can be partially compared to “As One We Shall Conquer” Väsen is the final result the orgy; a tormenting smite of unrivaled, bleak madness and restlessness is conceived. Grá’s vocalist Heljarmadr had duties to fulfill in Dark Funeral after the self-departure of Emperor Magus Caligula who’s blasphemous tongue was replaced by Nacthgarm. Heljarmadr stepped in to assist in the vocal recording of Dark Funeral’s 2016 offering Where Shadows Forever Reign which turned out well for some and even exceeded the expectations of others such as myself. However, thoughts lingered in my mind as I wondered what would become of Grá; would Heljarmadr be exclusive to Dark Funeral or would he still remain active in Grá as their main vocalist?
Väsen is a stellar shape-shifting bastard beast; it doesn't care for feelings and has no shame when committing acts of mountainous irreverence. “Till Sörjerskorna” (“To the Sorcerers”) stomps upon the listener's head with fast drumming, wild tremolo picking and vile vocals by Heljarmadr. What I have found quite surprising is that on “Till Sörjerskorna” (“To the Sorcerers”) and throughout Väsen, Heljarmadr’s vocal enunciation sounds slightly more obscure than it did when he recorded Where Shadows Forever Reign with fellow countrymen Dark Funeral. I think Heljarmadr slightly adjusted his vocal approach for Dark Funeral such that his releases with them would sound diverse from Grá’s.
“Hveðrungs Mær” sounds like a collection of various segments from Grá’s “Klagan och längtan“ plus Inquisition’s “The Realm of Shadows Shall Forever Reign” and “Where Darkness is Lord and Death the Beginning”. However; Grá add a special touch to it with a killer incision around the 2:53 minute mark. Just a well assembled and diabolical hymn “Hveðrungs Mær” is. I was delighted and engrossed to hear how the song would turn out after the addition of those influential traces, and unholy shit it surpassed my expectations.
Grá’s Väsen is a show of shameless sacrilege; this bare faced fury of filth fetching meets its peak on the song “The Devil’s Tribe”. Here’s a small sickening snippet
“I never aimed to please
I never offered guidance
I came to put despair
In your heart
Pissing on your boots
While you enjoyed the sun
I came to put an end
If you enjoyed Grá’s last release you will definitely love Väsen. It has all the elements of Grá’s character (intensified) and is assisted by the external sinister forces of Inquisition, Burzum, and some synth-wave. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to own this release; you will be greeted with sharp violent curses, unrestrained guitar melodies and riffs not to mention atmosphere encompassing evil.
Rating: 9.1 out of 10