Reviewed by Bec Hennessy
I would not call myself a fan of Black Metal, as a genre. I can’t help but feel as if the whole pushing the boundaries shock tactics contained within it’s imagery are a little cliched and perhaps as narrow minded as those they feel they are rebelling against. And anyway, sheeps heads on stakes? have you seen Game of Thrones lately? Not so shocking.
Ideology aside, there is a lot I like about Black Metal. I’m a sucker for some blast beats and distortion for one. Also I don’t mind a bit of creepy ambient electronica. Surprisingly (well the latter anyway) I’ve found that here in God Seed’s release ‘I Begin’. God Seed are the brainchild of former Gorgoroth members Gaahl and King, this release seems a slight departure for them.
Opener ‘Awake’ assaults you from the outset. Gaahl’s demonic and raspy vocals, brutal drums thundering away. Vicious tremelo picking gives way to an eerier crescendo. And yes, some electronic keyboards creep in before Gaahl howls them down, as the drums return to stake their claim. It all leeches away in a echo of ghastly sighs.
‘This From the Past’ follows in the same vein, though the tempo eases up slightly. The long churning outro gets me and the addition of an organ provides some nice atmospheric contrast. ‘Alt Liv’ is all theatrics and ominous spoken word vocals underpinned by a (dare I say) catchy ass bass line.
‘Hinstu Dagar’ is possibly my favourite track. Slow thudding guitars underneath sinister spoken word vocals. Rising to a droning operatic chorus, I nearly forget this is black metal.
Electronic sounds creep in with ‘Aldrande Tre’ before the drums pulverise them. Whispered growls and the return of some ferocious Tremelo picking underpinned by organ. More electronic effects and keyboards pepper ‘Lit’ in between the groans and the screams.
‘Bloodline’ has me confused and pleased. I imagine God Seed might cop some backlash from the electronic experimentation they have added sporadically throughout the album, but on this track they do not hold back. I won’t ruin it for you. It’s creepy and ambient. But I’m left wondering if this closer is a sign of what’s to come? If so, interesting.
I liked this album more than I thought I would. If you like Black Metal more than I, you will probably love this – if you like it with a satanic passion you might find the introduction of electronic elements an anathema. But in my opinion it’s good to see it getting mixed up a bit.