Review Summary: A harrowing journey through the forests of grief.
Grief and Justice is a somber album, that of hollow empty skies and infinite blank spaces, painting a daunting, depressing, yet slightly hopeful picture. Individually, not much is incredibly standout. Mellow acoustics set the scene along with pattering rain and a gorgeous spoken word segment from the track "In Despair". Yet nothing stands out individually, because what this album lacks in instrumental diversity it makes up for in atmosphere.
The album presents itself as very traditional black metal. Loads of tremolo riffing, repetitive albeit still charged energetic drumming, and raspy shouts which contain some truly gloomy poetry-
"They gather preserves from the bushes
Consuming the root of diseased trees
Exiled from their heritage
Ostracized like thiefs"
This is a verse from the track "Deject". It's shows that this is definetly an emotionally cathartic black metal record. It could become truly spectacular if not for a certain flaw-the repetition. The album may be based around constructing an atmosphere but it still grows a bit cumbersome 7 or 8 tracks in, when you have heard the album in it's entirety already and it simply feels like the album needs something to keep your attention. It almost drifts into background music, although the final track "Where I Must Go' ends on an epic buildup of tremolo riffs giving the album it's perfect closer.
In spite of this I think what gives the record it;s unique atmosphere and appeal is the bass work. For bass to be even present in black metal is rare to come by, let alone be a highlight of the record. There are so many points where it gives the riffs the extra push, and dare I say, groove, they need. Great examples include the tracks "Torn", "Deject" and "Where I Must Go", of which the first has some of the greatest hooks off the album.
If you can set aside the time and you aren't bored easily, this record is extremely commendable for the immensely shadowy and somber atmosphere it works to build, without somehow veering into the points of non-revokable depression. It is a harrowing journey through the forests of grief, yet still their is light in the end.