Gränslandet – Denationalization (Review)

Gränslandet - DenationalizationGränslandet are a hardcore/sludge band from Sweden. This is their second album.

I liked 2016’s Solidium, so it’s good to have the band return to the fray with Denationalization. On their new record the band offer up 37 minutes of crusty hardcore mixed with doomy sludge.

The band have a monstrous, filthy sound, and use this to beat the listener around the head across seven harsh tracks. However, Gränslandet are not a simple or typical hardcore/crust band, as they also incorporate sludge metal elements into their style to great effect. This side of their sound has been further developed on this new album – including doomier elements – and the songs are overall more considered and refined, allowing the band to explore more emotive aspects of heaviness alongside the familiar aggression. If you like aggressive d-beats and pummelling guitars, then the band still deliver this, but a lot more besides this too.

No, it’s not all brutality, and I like the band’s use of melody in particular. This is frequently not overtly delivered, and seems to power under the sludgy tone of the rhythm guitars for much of the time. In other parts it comes more to the fore, and these sections seem to be particularly effective. A classic doom metal influence can also be heard here, I feel.

This use of melody – and the overall improvement in songwriting in general – shows good development from the band’s earlier work, and can sometimes inject an intelligent, reflective aspect to the band’s material. This is something that you might think could be at odds with their overall aggressive tone, but really isn’t. Apparently the band have come a long way since Solidium, and it’s impressive to see what they have produced on Denationalization.

A strong, impressive release. Since we last heard from them Gränslandet have honed their sound, and have produced an effective, enjoyable slab of emotive harshness. Highly recommended.

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