|#FOR FANS OF: Neofolk|
The Swedish solo-project Grift was founded by Erik Gärdefors more than a decade ago. Erik has been a quite active member of the extreme metal scene in Sweden. His previous and also current projects are closely tied to the black and death metal subgenres, where he has shown his talent. With Grift, we can appreciate a further vision of Erik’s musical interest as he brings a strong folk influence on the ‘creation table’, where Grift was crafted. Since its inception, Grift’s music has been a quite palatable mixture of black metal and neo folk influences. As it usually happens the first opus entitled 'Syner' already had a very solid mixture of both genres, although the black metal elements sounded a bit harsher than in the subsequent releases. With albums like 'Arvet' or 'Budet', the intrinsically melancholic influence of the neo folk music impregnated the full compositions of Grift and even the blackest metal elements had a strong influence of the aforementioned subgenre. That led to the creation of something unique and, therefore, forged Grift’s own musical vision.
With the new opus entitled 'Dolt Land', Grift leaves behind all the black metal elements, at least for this release, as it seems that the artist contemplates the beauty of its land’s nature and consequently, tries to create an appropriate musical experience for the listeners. So, 'Dolt Land' is logically a folk/neo-folk album with a strong melancholic touch, which is so present in the purely folk albums that metal projects release in Scandinavia. The album is an immersive experience and a very pleasant listen if you like this kind of slightly gloomy form of folk music. The nature-related ambience of the album opener "Silverne Sitg" is a fine example of what you can listen to here. The nature sounds are elegantly missed with folk instruments, which slowly gain the main role, creating a nice bridge from the wild sounds to the man created ones. Erik’s voice sounds great as he has a deep and emotional tone which is very appropriate for this type of music. Even though an album like this may not have greater variations in the tone and pace, this composition shows that some variations are possible in order to enrich the composition and make the song more interesting. Another aspect where Erik tries to add some different touches in his own voice, as he adds a raspier tone in several compositions, for example in "Nattens Pilgrim". This addition, alongside the use of different folk instruments and variation in the intensity of the structures, help to create folk songs which are not so monotonous. Another song which I enjoy quite a lot is "En Hemskog", that is an acoustic guitar-driver composition, maybe with less variation than other compositions, but with a very nice work with this instrument that makes me appreciate it a lot.
In conclusion, 'Dolt Land' is a temporary departure from Grift’s fusion of neo-folk and black elements, and although this may disappoint some of its fans, I personally urge all of them to give a chance to this album, as it is a very tasteful and enjoyable listen. (Alain González Artola)
(Nordvis Produktion - 2023)