Grá – Lycaon (Review)

Grá - LycaonThis is the fourth album from Swedish black metal band Grá.

Featuring the singer of Dark Funeral on vocals/guitar, Grá play black metal in the classic Swedish style. Lean, mean, and lethal, Lycaon boasts 36 minutes of delicious blackened material for the listener to get demolished by.

Grá specialise in song-focused black metal, and Lycaon showcases their compositional talents quite nicely. The well-written songs are full of sulphuric melodies, serrated hooks, and vocal barbs that stick in the skin. Heavier than many strains of black metal, and with an abundance of well-crafted riffs and melodic strengths, Lycaon clearly means business.

The album switches between a range of mid-paced riffery and the occasional burst of scathing speed, with much more of the former than the latter. All the while Grá keep a firm eye on the lead and rhythm guitars that power much of the material, while the vocals reveal that they are as well-performed as you would expect from this particular singer. The drumming is solid throughout, and the bass presence is much stronger on Lycaon than it is on most black metal albums, and I like what it brings to the party.

Lycaon reminds me in general terms of what it might sound like if you mixed together Amon Amarth, 1914, Satyricon, and Khold, with a touch of Marduk and Dissection, and then stuck the Dark Funeral singer in front of the the microphone to do his thing. Sounds good? It does indeed.

Grá’s newest album is a professional chunk of thick blackened heaviness that’s packed with good songs and has plenty of infernal presence.

Highly recommended.

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