PICK OF THE WEEK: Nordgeist use frigid black metal for freezing bones on majestic ‘Frostwinter’

Photo by Eugen Kohl

It’s been in the 60s for the most part these past few weeks, a nice change of pace after we had an actual winter for the first time in years and years. Having the windows open and being able to walk the dog at any time and just basking in warmer weather has been a nice boost for the psyche that has suffered for far too long. And this morning we woke up to snow, and we’re right back in it.

I’m saying that as I’m about to discuss “Frostwinter,” the first full-length from Nordgeist, a one-woman black metal project helmed by an artist who goes by T. Here I am complaining about a little bit of snow, and she’s stationed in Siberia, where the frigid weather is far more oppressive than it is here in Pittsburgh in April. This four-track, 52-minute monster feels like a blizzard piling down on you, using Nordic-influenced black metal and her gargantuan shrieks to pull you through the madness. There also is a ton of delirious melody laced through these songs, entering your bloodstream and heart and somehow keeping you warm even as the temperature gets dangerously low in your mind.

“Winter” dawns in a heavy storm, feeling like blinding snow and TV static combined and rushing down. Strong melody and cavernous chaos unite as the emotion wells, and the playing surges. The momentum catches fire and warps, storming into gusts of power, rounding back to the encircling riffs that acts as the spine. The whole thing entangles and enraptures, the snows blanket, and wild winds take the track to its end. “The Old Wolf” also situates in a deep gust as a horrifying pace takes hold. The track rampages as sounds burst, and raw melodies eat into your chest. Power rushes as the riffs get impossibly catchy, the melodies lap, and the vocals crush, leading to a halo of energy. The track then gets swallowed by extreme frigidity, ending with keys plinking like ice daggers.

“Revenge” opens with the winds gathering and the keys collecting with the vocals crushing your flesh. Melodic playing snowballs and flies down the hill, ripping open wintry hell and coming to a tornadic explosion that feels kind of frightening. Hypnosis takes over and stirs, the power increases until the storming is relentless, and a whirling spiral digs into the earth and whips to an icy finish. “Sorrow” ends the record with frigid footsteps crunching, and huge riffs arriving and bringing a freezing fury that knows no mercy. A deluge of melody crashes through the floodgates, driving into the night, hammering away as blood and ice mix. Guitars pile up and get inside your psyche, the playing chugs and burns, and winter’s mighty grip takes you by the throat and drags you back into the blizzard.

It’s a strange time to be basking in the ice and snow, but Nordgeist’s “Frostwinter” really can be enjoyed in any season, even if it’s getting warmer in many parts of the world. It’s hard to imagine anything else coming from T as she exists in ice-cold Siberia, and what you hear on this record is a product of environment, a suffocating experience that leaves you dangerously blue. This is an album enraptures and sticks with you, further proof black metal still has a lot to offer from artists who are willing to put something extra into the music.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/nordgeist.official

To buy the album, go here: http://lnk.spkr.media/nordgeist-frostwinter

For more on the label, go here: https://kunsthall.ch/