Gnipahålan – I Nordisk Vredeslusta

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I’m always a sucker for a good symphonic style of black metal music, and recently I came across the sophomore release “I Nordisk Vredeslusta” from the Swedish act Gnipahålan, which is one of the many side project bands founded by the Swedish musician Swartadapuz. According to the old Norse mythology, Gnipahellir is the name of a mystical cave, musically, Swartadapuz (guitars, bass, and keyboards) and the German drummer Taaken joined forces to create a galactic style of symphonic black metal.

The unique component of fuzzy guitars, which has some clear resemblance to early Burzum albums, and fascinating ethereal synth are applied on the album’s intro “Forna minnen” which imbues a cosmic feel. Following the short intro, the blasting drums bring a level of intensity as the drums take a furious pace on “I stormens led”. From fast visceral sound to symphonic qualities that add depth, the harsh vocals soar over the backdrop of the guitars, showing the unique vision of Swartadapuz and his take on 90s black metal.

What’s so amazing about this lengthy album is that the synth instrument is all frontal, the drums are straightforward, and the guitars create an aura of a cold freezing atmosphere. This somehow makes “I Nordisk Vredeslusta” similar to bands like Olio Tähtien Takana and Odium, the synth variation offers a haunting quality on the following track “Odestimmans kampfyllda har”. The emphasis is laid upon the synth instrument but later on, the track becomes too dark, this also shows the professional symphonic arrangement that almost feels cosmic.

Fortrollad till efvighet” has a dark and ominous mood and the otherworldly quality of the synth draws similarity to Emperor however, from the overall composition the sophomore is well-crafted. Fans who are familiar with Swartadapuz‘s work on Gardsghastr, Trolldom, and Bekëth Nexëhmü will grasp the grim, sinister trademarks of black metal. The riffing on the album is mainly melodic and perfectly jells with the synth work the atmosphere is also another great aspect of this album, but the ambient elements on the intro and the outro focus more on creating a brooding ethereal mood. There is also an ambiance element combined with the harsh screeching vocals on “I Blodets svarta Dunkel del I” which demonstrates more ethereal and atmosphere elements, this instrumental track can be observed as one of the eeriest tracks Swartadapuz has ever composed.

I Nordisk Vredeslusta” is a fabulous mixture of symphonic black metal and dungeon synth, but it also shows the creativity of merging these two elements together. The symphonic elements on this album are beautifully crafted but the guitars and the drums still remain the driving force, the tremolos are sharp and ear-piercing and so are the vocals which sound chilling and harsh. “Inom tusenarig visdom” starts off with a storming blizzard of the pacing drums, whereas the guitars provide a dark backdrop. The track has some intense riffing with the tremolos being played swiftly, but later on, the drums take a slower pace, and the vocals add something more menacing.

I Norisk Vredeslusta” is one of the slower tracks on the album that begins with a catchy bass guitar, even in the slower tracks Swartadapuz perfectly captures the icy emotions of atmospheric black metal. Admittedly, the symphonic arrangements of the sophomore are more defined than Trolldom’s album “I Nattens Sken” as there is a lot of smooth elegance to create dramatic melodies.

Swartadapuz conjures melancholic riffs despite the absence of synth, the ambient elements of the music border on brooding ambient music, thus giving it a sense of transformation. “I Blodets Svarta Dunkel del II” is more sinister, and dark and has that majestic symphonic sound accompanied by thundering blast beats. Most certainly the sophomore will appeal to fans who are into symphonic and atmospheric style, the prominent inspiration of the 90s black metal is well-defined on this album especially the symphonies that are beautifully crafted to put the listener into some kind of mesmeric state. Although nothing special about the riffs on the album when the synth and the guitar collide they sound really impressive, my only complaint is that the album has four ambient/instrumental tracks while the actual songs are only six.


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

“I Nordisk Vredeslusta” is fully sated with symphonic bluster, but it also offers sublime qualities from the Swedish instrumentalist, who has presented a well-crafted piece of menacing black metal art that perfectly fits in the canons of symphonic black metal. This is recommended for fans of Burzum, Vargrav, and Olio Tähtien Takana.

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