From the polished production job to the slick groove right down to the unorthodox image of the band everything about KHOLD screams Moonfog Metal, if you know what I mean. Decide for yourself if that’s a good thing or not. I respect these Norwegians’ decision to go for a slightly more leftfield route with their music but the irony of it all is that despite all its (relatively) crunchy riffing and calculated grooves “Hundre År Gammel” comes off as more pedestrian than blastbeat-obsessed Black Metal bands. It’s kinda artsy and all but at no point did this album strike me as a particularly magical Black Metal album.
If I were any more cynical I would simply shrug these guys off as a poor man’s SHINING (sans the keyboard/piano embellishments), as the music essentially grooves and slithers in much the same fashion as that of the infamous Swedish outfit’s. Vocalist Gard’s throaty snarls are also quite similar to Kvarforth’s, while the more straightforward guitar parts carry the same dark groove. This is all fine and dandy of course but these guys rarely reach the same level of haunting brilliance that makes the aforementioned Swedes such a special band. Not all is bad though – “Forrykt” has a massively powerful groove that recalls SATYRICON, while the following track (“Rekviem”) follows in much the same style, albeit with a more pronounced latter era DARKTHRONE vibe. I also appreciate the fact that the music remains guitar-centered, with the production giving a good emphasis to the passionate vocal performance and the galloping bass-lines (listen to those thumping bass parts in “Sann Ditt Svik”). My main issue that I have with the album is the overabundance of mid-paced tracks and the fact that all these tracks just stop abruptly. None of them really have any sort of natural conclusion – they just stop...
Overall there’s nothing to differentiate this albums from anything in the band’s back catalogue – reinvention or any degree of musical adventurism clearly wasn’t high on their agenda as they recorded this album. If you’ve always liked KHOLD’s take on Black Metal then you wont be disappointed with this album; if you’re simply a casual fan (like me) then this album won’t make a raving fan out of you. It is simply an OK release and nothing more. Thing is, in today’s age of high-art Black Metal, as promulgated by WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, DEATHSPELL OMEGA and the like, simply being ‘OK’ just doesn’t cut mustard.
(Online October 4, 2008)