REVIEW: Gjendød - Gjendød


It seems 'traditional' black-metal is making a comeback of sorts, with bands like WODE clearly looking to seep through the mass of progressive and atmospheric additions that have practically drowned out the basic constructs of the genre - a process that has been underway since Dimmu Borgir decided to be more friendly to the masses with Death Cult Armageddon. However, I can't vouch for if that album was friendly or not, in truth but it's mainstream exposure and symphonic-like vocal sections really inspired a lot of people (I know they weren't the first, but they were one of the most known at the time). Anyhow - no, I don't hate progressive or atmospheric black-metal but it is nice to see that a more pure-blooded approach has begun to resurface - Gjendød being a prime example.

Though brief, this self-titled release really captured what I'd always thought black-metal to be. It's ugly, unfriendly, and completely unorthodox. The musical structure is, as expected, frantic and edgy - if not a bit simplistic with it's wall-of-distortion approach. There is a lot of sound here and it's meant to be loud and brash, and the vocals meant to be strange and otherworldly. There are no clean breaks or strategic build-ups. It's mostly a expression rather then an attempt at song-writing genius - because Gjendød really just doesn't need to be that, at all.

So, in that regard I give it praise. But as such, it carries the downside of the entire genre as well - the very downsides that experimentation has somewhat attempted to weed out over the years. Gjendød is unfriendly, Gjendød is unorthodox - but in such a way that it's utterly expected and almost lacks anything truly special. It's a wall of sound, its thrashy, and the vocals are harsh and ugly - but, on the other side of the coin, it's all familiar. There isn't anything you'll hear here that you haven't heard somewhere else in abundance.

For those looking back to a simpler and more pure form of black-metal, but for us who look for something a little different - Gjendød simply won't fit the bill.