April 7, 2015

Review - 'Grá/Gnosis of the Witch Split 7" Single'

Grá / Gnosis of the Witch – Split 7” (2015)

Iron Bonehead Productions

Review by Trevor Proctor

This April will see an exclusive 7” split release from Iron Bonehead Productions that features new tracks from two of Black Metal’s most mysterious bands – Grá and Gnosis of the Witch. They occupy a side each with an original track - Sweden’s Grá occupy side A with Valitus ja Kaipuu and Gnosis of the Witch side B with Fórn Dauðaorð. The amazing artwork is the creation of Luciana Nedelea Artworks, an artist well worth your support as she’s easily one of the most prolific and talented artists the underground has to offer.

Grá has been active since 2010 and to date have released two EP’s (Helfärd and Necrology of the Witch) and their self-titled album which came out in 2011. Based in Stockholm, Sweden they are currently working on a new album slated for release this summer. The band have stated it will be the fourth and final instalment of the “Charon Suite” which is a concept of works they began working on four years ago. Grá’s members have previously played in a number of bands; they’ve   all been members of Cursed 13 and vocalist Heljarmadr has performed vocals for Dark Funeral since 2014. 

Grá’s music is described as dealing with the darker aspects of ancient Scandinavian spirituality via authentic Black Metal. Their track on this split will satiate fans until the album’s release as it’s an exceptional track. Its sheer quality is testimony of Grá’s ability and productivity as many bands would have held onto a track as good as this for inclusion on the album. Valitus ja Kaipuu starts slowly with a beautiful acoustic section that’s a little bit of calm before the distortion cuts through the tranquillity after a mere forty seconds. The pace throughout is fairly mid paced with occasional flirtations with faster tempos and the order of the day throughout is non-compromising Black Metal. The main riff of the song is very catchy, planting itself nicely in your brain from the first listen; Heljarmadr’s vocal complements the pace and atmosphere of the track perfectly, he’s a seriously good vocalist plays a massive role during the track.

Gnosis of the Witch take over side B with Fórn Dauðaorð, they’re a two-piece US based black metal band surrounded in an air of secrecy. Active since 2013, last year saw the release of 2 EP’s  - their debut, Rún Af Inn Auðr, which was released via Darker than Black Records and Dauðr Burðr Þrysvar which was released on vinyl via Iron Bonehead Productions and cassette via Wohrt Records. Both releases garnered Gnosis much deserved attention and praise from many quarters of the media and were snapped up for review at The Lair of Filth. 

Jude praised Rún Af Inn Auðr very highly and I covered Dauðr Burðr Þrysvar, scoring it with a very healthy 10/10, on top of that I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview the band. There’s no arsing about from Gnosis, they plough straight in to their seven minutes of harsh, abrasive music. This is quality Black Metal of the highest order that’s heartfelt and true to its origins. 

In a world where there’s so much choice and so many different off shoots and styles of Black Metal it’s refreshing to hear tracks like these, tracks with no gimmicks and no bullshit; just impassioned and spirited music that easily manages to stay loyal to its roots whilst maintaining a distinct sound. The brilliant news is that as well as Grá Gnosis of the Witch also has a debut album on the way – if these tracks are anything to go they’ll be two fantastic albums. In the meantime bide your time with this release which Gnosis of the Witch succinctly described as “dark, cold and old school Black Metal.” 



Side A

Grá - Valitus ja kaipuu

Side B

Gnosis of the Witch - Fórn Dauðaorð

The Grá / Gnosis of the Witch Split 7” is released by Iron Bonehead Productions in April 2015.

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