Grafvitnir may just be one of the harder working bands in black metal. While their output may not rival that of, say, Jute Gyte, the Swedish collective are poised to put out their third full length album in as many years. Far from just being content for content’s sake, Obeisance to a Witch Moon continues the band’s tradition of crafting cold and calculated black metal sure to please anyone looking for something darker in their listening.
Grafvitnir’s music pulls absolutely no punches. Centered around frenzied tremolo picking and blindingly fast drums, Obeisance to a Witch Moon starts with a bang and ends with a bang. No ambient interludes or breakdowns will be found here, no respite from the chaos will be had; just forty minutes of unrelenting black metal assault. Of particular note here are the vocals, which have managed to capture the inhuman quality that so many black metal acts strive for yet fall short of achieving.
While the band’s music may owe much to their second-wave Scandinavian forebearers, Grafvitnir make their distinction by basing their lyrical and thematic content on occult esoterica rather than the general satanism and anti-christian lyrics of the old guard. Alongside bands such as Nightbringer and Gevurah, Grafvitnir are part of a new direction in black metal that seeks to approach the music with a more scholarly intent. For my money, while I don’t have the knowledge to be able to fully grasp the ideas behind the music, the thoughtful approach taken to the themes on Obeisance is another captivating aspect of Grafvitnir’s music, and it has piqued my interest enough to want to understand it more.
Obeisance to a Witch Moon shows confidently that Grafvitnir are no slouches when it comes to their craft. This is aggressive, true-to-form black metal of the highest order. While this may be one of the later releases we will see this year, don’t let it pass under your radar.