Review Summary: An epic tale told via the deepest depths of atmospheric black metal
During a year in which very few metal bands have managed to excite me, Norway’s Galar stand tall and triumphantly as one of the rare exceptions. The reason is no mystery --their latest effort through Dark Essence Records resembles just about everything I love in modern black metal, from the serene folk passages to the crushing riffs, and everything in between. Yet, every time I hear the album, something new and profound is revealed to me. Undoubtedly, that’s the charm of Galar; they’re instantly likeable, but there’s much more than meets the eye.
Although there are only six tracks on De Gjenlevende
, most of them are nothing short of monolithic, as they near the 10-minute mark without a dull moment. Upon repeated listens, the classical influences really begin to stand out in a special way, and add notable depth to the experience. Some prime examples would be the ominous piano build-up in ‘Bokens hymne’ or the use of brass in the groovy instrumental track ‘Ljos.’ These elements give Galar a more varied sound, but they’re also used sparingly, which supports the steady momentum of the record. However, for those who prefer an onslaught of heavy riffs and pummeling drums, there’s still plenty of material here that threatens to flatten the listener to the ground. The final two tracks are especially intense, as the roaring guitars and high-octane screams leave nothing in their path but rubble.
Forget the fact that you may not understand a single word that is yelled, chanted, or shrieked on Galar’s newest creation; the music speaks for itself. Thanks to a horn quartet, and a wide array of instruments from strings to accordions, De Gjenlevende
is symphonic black metal at its finest. The carefully placed instrumentation tells a story of epic proportions, and it begins the moment the somber guitars morph into a giant wall of sound during the album's first few breaths. Few bands are able to retain such depth to their music while remaining accessible from the get-go, but Galar prove there are more than a few tricks up their sleeve on their latest venture. Don’t be surprised if you keep coming back to this one, if only to continue digging for hidden treasure. I can assure you, there’s something significant buried deep within every track.