Label: Peaceville Records
It would be rather silly to argue that there being so much good music out in the world to discover is somehow a bad thing. Yet the sheer amount of music out there, when combined with having fairly broad tastes, does mean that there’s often music that is worthy of attention, yet I fail to hear. Such is the case with Norwegian black metal band Khold. I’ve long known of the band, but Til Endes has been my first experience of actually listening to them. But if the rest of their back catalogue is as strong as this album, it won’t be my last.
Coming down heavily on the “metal” side of black metal, Khold are none the less a band that conjure up a strong, grim and cold (no pun intended) atmosphere. That atmosphere is one of the most notable points of Til Endes; even if the album possess a hell of a lot more groove and primitive power than most adherents of the second wave, it still has a feel to large parts of it that can trace its lineage back to those classic mid-90s records. Even if it would be wrong to describe it as overtly kvlt by underground standards, it still has a very powerful, grim feel.
But what chiefly stands out are the riffs. And by riffs, I mean RIFFS. This is black metal full of groove, as good as guaranteed to get your head banging/nodding along, depending upon tempo. There really is a hell of a lot of groove to these songs – and don’t think that means they have anything at all to do with the modern “groove metal” style that has come out of America. Til Endes is an undeniably black metal record, just one that takes a different approach to the vast majority of other black metal records you might hear. Indeed, it is almost – oh, how un-kvlt! – enjoyable. Not only that, but it also boasts a strong production, and a bass that can actually be heard.
As far as highlights go, the album is so strong that it’s difficult to pick them out, but the dizzying riffs of the title track are certainly worthy of note, as is the majestic manner in which the song strips things back at points. “Ravenstrupe” is also a favourite, with the way it moves between up-tempo riffs to comparatively discordant moments being very effective. Likewise, “Dommens Arme” features some guitar work that is utterly grim and frost-bitten, and worth highlighting for praise. But in some ways, that the album is so strong as a whole is also the gap in its armour. The emphasis on groove in the songs, and the mid-tempo of much of the album, does mean that the songs risk losing their individuality, but this is a relatively minor complaint when compared with how well they work together. Til Endes is a very strong half hour of black metal that is both trve but plays by its own rules, and, if you’re like me and have not acquainted yourself with this band previously, presents an excellent opportunity to rectify that. You won’t regret it.
Til Endes is available from Peaceville Records on CD and 180g vinyl.