With the bounds of consciousness inexorable in the face of dire existential resignation the empathetic are spared no mercy from multifarious effectors, confounding shifts in norms compress steep vales for the mood and the mind-body to slip into scurrility and inaction. Distress and eustress align there, indistinguishably brutal and uninspiring for the fast-slumping body’s screaming slice into the icy black fjord of ‘angst’ and its petrified forests, preserved by fear and the grip of darkness, beneath. The unkempt, untrained mind wallows there for centuries staring blankly at the perceived void. One less potentiate attendant to the crumbling, distant knowledge of men flails weakly without mentor and without driver, waterlogged into solidifying dread and blinded by slow-bursting capillary in distended eye. If there is no purpose to qualia, then piteousness and pathos is vestigial instinct spurned on by seemingly fractal experiences. As a natural scientist prone to research, sentience is compounded by repeatable effects taken to a robotic degree and as such, there can be no rational acceptance of the instantaneous and roiling effect of the tremolo-picked melodic black metal guitar riff — Sehnsucht as I see it, a racing heart’s pace for the sake of animalistic matching catharses, is the root of this effect. Primal as this instinctual attachment of meaning to the motor’s stroke is, it is nonetheless fuel enough for a species so irrationally adaptive where ‘meaning’ only concerns those who’re traumatized into inaction. Grimah at present is forged for the sake of missing links in a greater ‘starter chain’ needed for blood’s flow to inspire and that’d be a fine enough place to set oneself, immersed in recognizable structures and enforced through known timbres.
The ‘job’ of the listener then, as key actor of musical transference, is to bury themselves within it. Clip the nervous impulse and allow the SA node to embrace or deny its resonance. Of course several hundred bands sound like Cuenca, Spain based black metal trio Grimah so, the mind can categorize it easily and compartmentalize that existence alongside (or beneath) great works the project itself suggests: Sargeist, Plaga, Mgła, Cult of Fire and a general suggestion of Québécois black metal (Forteresse, Sorcier des Glaces). Whereas the sonic expression of ‘Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom’ falls most closely in line with the more tender melodic tilting of (earlier) Mgła the point is missed as comparisons define the ‘on-boarding’ of experience rather than the purpose of Grimah‘s undertaking. There can be no catharsis for one experiencing chronic existential sorrow as a point of traversal. The unlight with a known endpoint of ‘comfort’ is there self-defeated in purpose, primally activated or not, and the sense of unending and fearfully unknown is conveyed whilst existence is pondered in morose fashion. Existential nihilism is the gateway to this wretched stasis, a constant state of body-dissolving throes compelled to anxious flight and a dead-but-dreaming state of enhanced metaphysical nihilism is the right point of view that Grimah would embody.
Consider the impetus for ‘Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom’ a daydream or hallucination in the corner of the eye that’d persist even when other devotions would prove more practical and pressing. Main songwriter Ludwigar would focus on a true-leaning Scandinavian styled black metal for about a half-decade in Fathomhell, a project that’d grow more serious and eventually change their name to Squamatas. During a period of dormancy in 2016 the doors opened for Grimah to crawl through the eye as blackened worm and burrow through the forehead into 2017. The result of that self-searching, existentialist burden, and acceptance of true nihilism within is this debut full-length. Cursory examination of black metal works detailing personal trips through great the unfilled void of life is a nonpunishable crime perpetuated by the exuberance of the artform itself; None would blame the listener for blundering their way through the wall of steel available but, taste is not at all meaningful if curated by reactions to marketing and obviate comparison alone. The core resonance of the work will not be lost to those who’ve trained themselves with thousands of patterns prior as the blur of familiarity allows some brief opening for emotional communication. This is where I connect with Grimah‘s debut, a familiar toil driven by a painterly rhythmic hand.
If you’d consider the first two tracks compressed in theme, then ‘Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom’ expresses as five ~8-10 minute songs as atmospherically dense as the extending rhythmic language of Uada‘s ‘Cult of a Dying Sun’ and continuous in thread as Mgła‘s ‘Groza’. The effect is that of melodic atmospheric black metal or, well, modern black metal that uses familiar phrasal guitar techniques to create long-arching melodic devices. The devices themselves do point closer to Sargeist‘s ‘Disciple of the Heinous Path’ but the deeper into the past I’d point for reference the further the point would stray from more obvious modern sonic semblances. Of course if you can find no value in ‘genre entry’ records that offer a musician’s own perspective the core philosophical lineage of black metal as an artform is probably wasted on the divested generalist and there is little-to-no payoff without investment. I wouldn’t tout ‘Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom’ as Grimah‘s great opus but a sublimely resonant if ‘unoriginal’ first step into visibility. At ~43 minutes the full listen does become mildly redundant in composition yet the lack of book-ending for the piece makes it interminably repeatable. I can give moderate recommendation for ‘Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom’ as a successfully melodic stream of familiar but passionate black metal with the caveat that folks seeking ingenuity or some major shift of paradigm won’t likely find it within.
Moderate recommendation. 3.5/5.0
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