Rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Dark Ambient
Label: Deivlforst Records
Music that has a strong concept behind it has always been more impressive to me. Concepts allow music to become more focused and creatively express the subjects and ideas in musical form. This is especially important with instrumental music, since there are no lyrics or vocals present to represent the ideas; the music itself is solely responsible for acting as a manifestation of the subjects involved.
Grimrik does just that with the debut album Eisreich. The liner notes of the album describe the concept as follows: “The music of GRIMRIK is inspired by the arctic / polar myth. The subject of this first album is the descending of the impalpable ethereal ancestors of the primordial race of mankind”. The album truly embodies this concept with minimalistic dark ambient that creates a cold, mysterious atmosphere. The first two tracks are especially impressive. The opening track ‘Der astrale Ursprung (Teil I)’ begins with the tolling of a single synthesized note, with an accompanying melody eventually joining in. I view this as the “birth” of the ancient race described in the concept, the cold minimal notes expressing the primordial beginning of life. When track two ‘Der astrale Ursprung (Teil II)’ begins, the notes from the first track continue, eventually being accompanied by additional synth pads and melodies. The production and mastering of this album is quite impressive; not only is the music crystal clear (which gives the notes an airy, icy quality), but Grimrik utilizes other effects (such as the increase of volume as track two builds up) to enhance the dramatic effect of the songs. The production is definitely one highlight of the album, and it is clear that a lot of time and attention to detail went into the mastering. By the time the volume reaches it’s maximum level and all instruments are playing in ‘Der astrale Urpsprung (Teil II), I understand the underlining idea behind the song; the complete realization of the ethereal ancestors of the artic past coming into being.
As anyone who reads this zine knows, I am obsessed with the power that old synthesizers create. The synth sounds used by Grimrik pulsate with electronic life, while at the same time maintain a dark and cold feeling. The combination of synth pads and instruments used are consistent, which allows the entire album to flow in a logical direction; no song seems out of place. The album moves forward evoking mental images of silent stars gleaming atop the slow moving glaciers of the arctic, where mysteries have been forgotten over time.
Another highlight of the album is the excellent cover of Tomhet by Burzum (here renamed Leere to match the German song titles). Again, Grimrik continues in a consistent fashion with this cover song by utilizing similar synth sounds used on the original songs. The cover song fits in with the rest of the album and has it’s own unique style without wandering too far from the original. Of the many Burzum cover songs I’ve heard, this is certainly one of the best and most unique. The cover song was the perfect way to end this obscure album of primordial dark ambient.
I highly recommend this album to be listened to through headphones on solitary nights, when you wish to escape into the secrets of the unknown past.