Bekëth Nexëhmü – De Dunklas Gravrit

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From all the past demos and the studio albums of Bekëth Nexëhmü, Swartadapuz (all instruments and vocals) offers a different framework on the fourth full-length album 'De Dunklas Gravrit' where the songs take a grim and sorrowful approach. Nevertheless, by evoking the style of early Burzum the composer succeeded in conjuring up a sad and depressive atmosphere. For many years now Bekëth Nexëhmü perfectly fitted within the spectrum of atmospheric black metal, but unlike many of his side project bands, 'De Dunklas Gravrit' has a particular resemblance to Muvitium.

What really differentiates the music is that the luminous textures of the guitar melodies are at the center of the display, while the synth creates even more layers to the beautiful somber atmosphere. Swartadapuz is quite known for his creativity in conceiving such a style of lo-fi black metal. In this dark, aural manifesto the guitars and the synth emanate sadness and nocturnal dramas. After the absolutely captivating intro ‘Köldens Storm’ the acoustic guitars segue into the next song ‘Vid Dödens Rike’. Once you get past the gloomy ambiance, the harsh banshee-like vocals carry off at mid-tempo. The production on this album is crystal clear, like icicles of snow adding to this dismal aura and the synthesizer funneling like a wintery mist. ‘Blodskammets Guld’ drips with cascading textures of  acoustic guitar passages and the synth reflects the dramatic arrangements of both elements. While the songs are stretched to an epic length of 7-9  minutes, the songs flow gently at a slow pace.

The guitar tone on the album is laden with melodic chords, allowing the listener to venture into the vast, icy glades. While the mournful atmosphere adds a splash of dark hue to the gloomy riffs, they perfectly contrast the harsh mourning growls. Despite the grim backdrop of the music, songs like ‘I Frostens Kyla’ serves as a grim and subdued entry. In the deeply shadowed musical canon of SwartadapuzDe Dunklas Gravrit’ draws nearer to the depressive themes of black metal. Bekëth Nexëhmü‘s fourth album encapsulates the essence of bands like Ulver, Satyricon and Burzum. This also suggests that Swartadapuz appears to cover new musical grounds.

There are many acoustic guitar passages that render the classic nature of Norwegian and Swedish black metal from the 90s era and they’re brilliantly conveyed to create different moods. The overwhelming bleakness  created by the synth and the cold aura sweeping by the guitar lines are very inspiring. ‘Vargens Stig Evigt Vandra’ blends the downbeat drums and guitars with abrasive vocals, followed by cascading synths and dark guitar riffs. Swartadapuz drenches the composition in a sweeping atmosphere and contrives a spacious theme that would set you into a nocturnal odyssey through the realm of frost. The guitars produce a thick layer of fuzzy riffs and the synthesizer sounds warm and atmospheric, infusing the song structure with profound feelings. ‘Under Ondskans Tecken’ is another song that begins with a dark melodic riff, followed by very cadenced drumming work which provides an atmospheric touch to the song.

While this is not the first time where Swartadapuz shows his ability to craft some catchy melodies to capture your imagination, most of the composition takes on a unique cadency. Albeit meditative and melancholy ‘De Dunklas Gravrit’ maintains the pensive feeling of sadness and these themes are seemingly repeated throughout the duration of fifty-seven minutes. The album includes five actual songs and two instrumental cuts including an intro and outro, but they all seem to build up the theme of music. The constant emphasis on the slower side is one of the defining aspects of the fourth album. Thus, the songs are generally spacious and filled with clean guitar textures. The evocative melodies take the most part of the music, allowing the tempo to shift through dark ambient soundscapes.

The combination of the depressive vocals plays a key element in juxtaposing the sorrowful themes. Haunting synth and sharp screams are very reminiscent of Varg Vikernes‘s tormenting vocals, ‘Vision af Hels Prakt’ offers dramatic shrills that have become instilled with the trademarks of Swartadapuz. For all the atmosphere and the soothing instrumentation, the final track ‘Vinternattens Dunkel’ serves as the closure for this album that brings beautiful moments of tranquility.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 9/10
8.4

I have given multiple listens to Bekëth Nexëhmü’s past albums and I must say that ‘De Dunklas Gravrit’ stands as a very unique kind of album that brings deep emotions and a breadth of dark icy black metal experiences. This is the end of one cycle, for another to begin.

 

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