In some of the eeriest corners of the globe there always seems to be a handful of Black Metal. Black Metal will always be dark and there seems to be more and more bands popping up every day if you know where to look, they’re always beneath the surface. Sweden is no stranger to these bands. Marduk might be one of the bigger of Swedish bands out there but it certainly doesn’t stop there. Grimtone are certainly fresh to our ears, starting up in 2015 and on their first album, Memnto Mori. Like the memory of death they shall strike at us.
After a quick intro track to establish the mood, Memento Mori dives right in. We hear the familiar sound of tremolo picking and waves of assault from the drums. It’s precise but atmospherically raw, the exact kinds of evil we’d expect from Black Metal. Overshadowing this is the sense that this builds to some sort of scathing melody in the next track; ‘The Blood of the Dead’, which comes together as am accomplished whole. It’s all very standard and nothing that makes too much of a mark. The shrieks, however, certainly remain interesting, recalling Burzum amongst others whilst somehow keeping a clarity close to Satyr from Satyricon. It sets the tone perfectly.
The album takes note of its excellent musicianship once more in ‘Fields of Pale Limbs’, bringing drums to the forefront for another smash into the dark and melancholic parts of our ears. It’s subtle what works with the guitars as they constantly tone out in a punishing and relentless sound, but as songs like this show it can really hit the mark. ‘Armageddon (Rise From Hell)’ has the guitars on form again. The only issues, like many other bands, is that it takes a background amongst any peers. Content to try and sit with the best of them and nothing more, the album fortunately keeps a versatility from itself but offers nothing but the accomplishment of playing. Very small price to play and the vocals remain distinct. ‘Witch’s Lair’, is an echoed new approach from the rest of the album and is but one example of how Grimtone keeps the album interesting throughout.
As debut albums go this is actually a very promising start. We’ve heard a lot of this kind of Black Metal before, but it is, at least, done well here. A lot of bands manage to miss the mark entirely. Here, we are offered a seductive melancholy of songs to take us away from the light. It’s dark and raw and every bit Black Metal, like many other, but they’re shrieking for our ear drums none-the-less.