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Gramary - Suffocation (8/10) - Finland - 2008

Genre: Black Metal
Label: Helvete.ru
Playing time: 40:08
Band homepage: Gramary

Tracklist:

  1. Where The Light Dies
  2. Into The Dark
  3. In The Name Of The Black Art
  4. Age Of Darkness
  5. Through The Burning Gates
  6. Final Arise
  7. Acoustic
Gramary - Suffocation

It really isn't hard to tell that this Finnish ever-changing ensemble has been heavily influenced by BURZUM. With a vocalist that sounds like Varg's long lost brother, and with several musical nods in the direction of everybody's favorite nazi-farmer, their inspiration is everything but subtle. But it is one thing to take a tired cliche and run with it, the process of expanding and shaping it into something new is where greatness sometimes surfaces.

Fortunately for us, GRAMARY has decided that even though "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" is a classic, there are still new directions one can lead it towards. Their use of a synthesizer and thunderous crescendos are coupled with softer moments, and the dynamic use of two vocal styles (cookie-monster and banshee) are all reminiscent of early CRADLE OF FILTH, but with a considerably less theatrical approach. Instead of that Anne Rice-melodrama, GRAMARY add a certain Finnish grimness to their melodic groundwork. The icy razor-sharp riffs cut through the slabs of morose synth, while we get some of the tightest drumming I've heard all year. In some kind of masterstroke they have adapted a classic sound to a modern environment, bringing in the best of both worlds to form an album that speaks in a voice of its own.

At first it seemed strange that this band took ten years between releasing their debut demo and their first proper album, but it now seems clear that none of this time was wasted. "Suffocation" allows us a glimpse into an alternate universe, where Varg Vikernes never went to jail, but rather joined up with a rag-tag bunch of EMPEROR- and GORGOROTH-members to produce some top notch Black Metal.

(Online December 24, 2009)

Ailo Ravna



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