Casualty Of The Psychic Wars
American black metal horde, Grue have cast a spell of cold misanthropy with their debut album. Starting with the title-track a Nordic flair is readily apparent, yet serves to cast an eerie pall across the music. Energetic pacing and chilling Norwegian melodic blasts emerge and create a wintery atmosphere. At around the 3:11 mark the song takes on a marching quality at beats and guitars pound and then morph into a frigid melody. Calling Down The Stars explodes from the moment of its birth, speedy gusts of guitar quickly collapse into more epic melodic segments and more frenzied riffs and drums. The song borders on relentless for its early stages but then drifts into melancholic guitars and a bit of spoken vocals. Changing things up a bit is the ambient musings of Lament Of The Spheres. A methodical drum underpins nebulous guitars that float about like freezing fog before a mouth harp pierces the opaque vapors and brings somber, clean guitar with it. The upright Bass is a nice, moody touch. In The House Of The Nemesis seamlessly begins its trudge with mountainous riffs and plodding drums. A sullen, doomy mood permeates the first third of the song, however you sense that things are going to get hellish, you just don't know when. All of a sudden the guitars cut like a blizzard and the drums let loose a furious storm of strikes. The final track, They Who Walk Behind The Skies, is a 14+ minute odyssey through sorrow and isolation. The beginning guitar work is almost hopeful but you can detect the hopeless gloom beneath its surface. Powerful riffs rise from that gloom yet retain the spirit of desolation so prevalent within the fabric of the song. The song really becomes expansive in its textures. The vocals become more emotional, abandoning the icy rasps of the album's early compositions. Despondent melodies surface and fold in on themselves bringing to mind a middle ground of early Gorgoroth and Brave Murder Day era Katatonia. That blackened thrash break at the 9 minute mark is genius. Grue's initial album is a forlorn and frozen journey across arctic tundra, so cold and barren. This is the true face of American black metal.