We cannot escape who we are. We might try to color in our personalities or try to change parts of our lives, but ultimately, we cannot move away from what’s buried at our very core and has been there since we’ve become human beings. Our journey from birth to wherever we are now is etched into our hearts and minds, and that never can be altered.
That’s a major theme of Grift’s excellent new record “Arvet,” which translates to “the heritage.” Most of us have big dreams and aspirations in life, and we spend a lot of time trying to reach those goals. Not all of us make it. Many of us fail to live up to the big expectations we build for ourselves. But if we never get there, all we have to fall back on is ourselves and who we truly are. Experiences are things that create the very fiber of our beings, and band mastermind Erik Gärdefors delves into this sensitive territory on these six songs. He brings to the table elements of black metal and rustic folk, which are sounds that comprise his other works, and the music here bursts with emotion. Gärdefors’ vocals roar and sometimes buckle with the weight of what’s he’s singing. These are vulnerable tracks when you dig beneath the surface, and no matter how loud or savage things get, we’re always returning to our essence along our lifelong journey.
“Flyktfast” opens the record with acoustic passages, strings calling, and a rustic sense that makes it feel like you’re in a misty woods. The song then opens, as harsh cries rain down, leading to an emotional rush and huge wave of melody, which Gärdefors amplifies with more heartfelt cries. The song goes into a dramatic swell, as the playing reveals its huge heart, and the track comes to a rousing end. “Den stora tystnaden” rides in on acoustics and tapped drums, as Gärdefors’s gruff singing leads the way, and the pace takes on a slower, more calculated approach. Then things burst with no warning, as emotions cascade like a soaking rain, and the feeling conveyed just wrench you. Black metal power and majesty unfurl, bringing everything to a head before the sounds fade into woodsy calm. “Glömskans järtecken” has bells ringing, dogs barking, and creaky noises before the song slowly begins to open its doors. Gärdefors sings cleanly, as the song takes on a folkish vibe, before the volume rises and breaks through the gates. Harsh wails and sweltering guitars meet, as the intensity crescendos and blasts toward its finish.
“Morgon på Strömsholm” is the weirdest of the bunch, a sort of lamentation set to music more than anything. Air breezes by while birds chirp, while aching strings and clanging bells provide our stunted melodies. For the most part, the track is bone dry, but by design. It feels like a gasp of harsh winter when moisture is at its lowest point. “Utdöingsbygd” also starts acoustically, though guitars eventually ring out and begin to take over. Gärdefors’ voice pierces the calm, as his growling crackles and gives off sparks, and melodies soar over top. The feel is glorious, and even when serenity arrives and patters, it’s always with the promise of another emotional deluge on the other side. Closer “Nattyxne” has a rousing start, as speed is represented in full, and wild wails barrel over the horizon. The playing is channeled and intense, as the vocals pull at your psyche at some points and blow you down with hearty bellowing at others. As the song winds down, a female voice joins in to add a different texture, and the storm slowly subsides and fades with the clouds.
Gärdefors will dig inside you and unearth some scars on “Arvet.” Even if his words don’t resonate because of language barrier, the music itself is dark and emotive enough that the messages should register nonetheless. The music is a stark reminder that we’re always digging and clawing our way through our time here, and whether for good or bad, we always have our true beings to return to when things happen to hit rough patches.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Griftofficial/
To buy the album or for more on the label, go here: https://www.nordvis.com/