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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Sweden's Gnipahålan

Gnipahålan is a Swedish translation for Gnipahellir, the name of a mystical cave in Norse mythology. The moniker perfectly suits the Swedish black metal project that oozes with mystery and an unmistakable spiritual element. Aside from the drum work, Gnipahålan is the brainchild of Swartadauþuz, who runs Ancient Records and Mysticism Productions, in addition to having performed with nearly a couple dozens bands. German label Purity Through Fire Records released the act’s second full-length, “I Nordisk Vredeslusta,” today on CD with a vinyl release slated for next year.

There’s a transcendental quality to Gnipahålan’s work, and even going back to the act’s initial 2014 demo, “Flögo de bort,” the catchy element isn’t far removed from pop music. But the primary foundation upon which Gnipahålan’s twisted hymns is build is melancholy drenched, melodious, second-wave black metal that exhibits some elements of classic Emperor. The brooding title track tastefully unravels subtle, well-written symphonic black metal that avoids the pitfalls of pomposity on one end, and weak, stereotypical “emo” qualities ever-present in depressive suicidal black metal on the other end. The juxtaposition of beautiful, shimmery guitar work and sparse tom strikes set against scathing black metal screeches on songs like “Odestimmans Kampfyllda Har” and “Nordens Majestat” somehow makes sense in a proficient and masterful expression of black metal. If the ever prolific Swartadauþuz hasn’t been busy enough, Purity Through Fire will be releasing the band’s next album, Folkstorm, later this year.

JayHGorania's avatar

Jay H. Gorania is a long time metal journalist and sings for Trench Warfare. He also writes for Blabbermouth and Hellbound.ca and has in the past edited for Pit and written for Metal Maniacs, Unrestrained!, Hails and Horns, AMP and Outburn as well as other media outlets.

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