Never shy of venturing to the very edge of the extreme music terrain, this cult Experimental Black Metal unity from Sweden is back after 10 years with a brand new album dealing with memories, regret and despair.
Swedish Experimental Black Metal unity Bergraven is never shy of venturing to the very edge of the extreme music terrain and staring into the maddening abyss, delivering an always interesting and unique fusion of a wide range of styles such as Progressive Metal, Avantgarde/Atmospheric Black Metal and Post-Black Metal that penetrates deep inside our ears and minds. Now in 2019 the band formed in 2002 in the city of Hässleholm, but currently located in Malmö, is ready to take us on another vibrant journey beyond the boundaries of Black Metal with their brand new opus, entitled Det Framlidna Minnet, or “the lost memory” in English, ten years after the release of the excellent Till Makabert Väsen.
Carefully mastered by T. Stjerna at the renowned Necromorbus Studio (Watain, Armagedda, Mayhem, Shining) in Stockholm, Det Framlidna Minnet deals with memories, their fluid nature and how the healthy human spirit builds a wall around itself with adjusted memories, and yet sometimes the system corrupts and memories become ghosts that haunt their hosts with regret and despair. If these words are not enough to show you the true uniqueness and potency of the music by Bergraven, which by the way means “mountain black” in English, then let the triumvirate comprised of Pär Stille on vocals and guitar (also known for his work as guitarist and songwriter for Swedish Black Metal band Stilla), Andreas Johansson on bass and Johan Marklund on drums guide you on a one-way journey into the realms of experimental heavy music made in Scandinavia.
The intro Minnesgåva (“memory gift”) provides the listener a very good idea of how wicked and bizarre Bergraven’s music is, with all its eerie noises and beats permeating the air until Allt (“all”) comes to haunt our souls with its creepy atmosphere and piercing guitar lines, while Pär begins his growling attack barking like a demon, with the music flowing demonically and obscurely into an abrupt and vile ending. Den Följsamma Plågan (“the painful plague”) is even more eccentric and experimental, with Pär and Andreas making sure even the acoustic moments do not sound calm at all, always adding a touch of dementia to their musicality in seven minutes of Post-Black Metal not recommended for the lighthearted (not to mention how its ending reeks sheer melancholy and insanity). And the metallic bass punches by Andreas and the Doom Metal-inspired beats by Johan provide Pär all he needs to roar in Minnets Melankoli (“memory of melancholy”), a Mastodon-meets-Gojira-meets-Dream Theater-meets pitch black darkness tune where the music alternates between serene, somber passages and a disturbing havoc for our total delectation.
Swedish words flow disturbingly from Pär’s deranged vocals throughout the over eight minutes of modern, progressive and doom-ish Post-Metal in Leendet Av Hans Verk (“the smile of his work”), where Johan’s beats get more and more obscure as the music progresses, adding even more thunder to the song’s visceral riffs and menacing ambience, followed by Den Dödes Stigar (“the paths of death”), bringing elements from Folk Metal to Bergraven’s already distinguished musicality. Furthermore, Pär doesn’t stop vociferating deeply and with a lot of anguish while Johan smashes his drums beautifully, resulting in a very detailed song that’s full of breaks, variations and creepy passages, remaining dense and enfolding from start to finish. Then get ready to be dragged into the pits of hell with over ten minutes of disturbing Experimental Black Metal in Till Priset Av Vårt Liv (“for the price of our lives”), led by Pär’s sulfurous gnarls and slashing riffs. In addition, it’s interesting to see how the trio gradually reduces the song’s pace and speed, slowly attracting us to their sonic realm, capturing our souls and keeping us in darkness forever. And there’s still time for a beyond dissident outro similar to the album’s intro, this time entitled Eftermäle (“posthumous reputation”), as if the band wanted to close the circle offering us a feast of whimsical sounds and tones.
You can actually savor all of Bergraven’s eccentricity by listening to Det Framlidna Minnet in full on Spotify, but if you’re already convinced of the band’s undeniable talent and insanity, you can also follow them on Facebook and purchase your copy of the album from the Nordvis Produktion’s BandCamp or webstore (in Digipak or LP format), as well as from iTunes, Amazon or Discogs. It’s not everyday that we, mere mortals, have the pleasure of facing such peculiar, nonconformist music like the one blasted by Bergraven, so don’t waste your time and succumb to the most unconventional side of Swedish heavy music together with Mr. Pär Stille and his horde. It’s surely worth the ride.
Best moments of the album: Allt, Minnets Melankoli and Den Dödes Stigar.
Worst moments of the album: Den Följsamma Plågan.
Released in 2019 Nordvis Produktion
1. Minnesgåva 2:25
2. Allt 5:56
3. Den Följsamma Plågan 7:20
4. Minnets Melankoli 8:03
5. Leendet Av Hans Verk 8:20
6. Den Dödes Stigar 8:34
7. Till Priset Av Vårt Liv 10:41
8. Eftermäle 2:58
Pär Stille – vocals, guitar
Andreas Johansson – bass
Johan Marklund – drums