Grá – Lycaon

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Swedish black metal Grá took time in refining its sound to modern standards of black metal. For those who are not acquainted with the band, Grá is fronted by Heljarmadr vocalist of Dark Funeral, and Dimman (drums), Vediger (bass guitar) and Niklas (guitars). The band has released three albums in the span of thirteen years and now the quartet returns with their fourth album “Lycaon”. Grá brings plenty of aggression and a variety of riffs the album somehow eschews the style of Dark Funeral, and Marduk therefore it focuses on heavy-driven guitars with the drums restraining from blast beats.

Arguably their most diverse record to date, the eight new songs showcase what the band can do in the melodic spectrum and beyond, the opening track “White City Devil” is a mid-pacing sensational song crafted with sheer efficiency. The quartet mixes catchy guitars, however, every song infuses some outstanding guitar hooks and the pacing feels right which makes it infectiously easy to listen to. The main strength of the album is the brilliantly sinister growls of Heljarmadr, and they jell pretty well with the aggressive guitars. In their finely honed flair of the traditional Swedish black metal “Flame of Hephaestus” hits the maximum level of aggression with the blazing guitars utilizing scathing tremolos and the tight drumming of Dimman booming in sudden blast beats.

Grá gives a perfect example of dynamic proportions. The drums shift between a full range of blast beats and a mid-paced tempo incorporating techniques that are achieved by a skilled songwriting prowess. While the timing of the drums varies from each track rhythm and lead guitars are spot on. The guitars drip black sulfurous sludge, and the songs find a great equilibrium, particularly in the guitar department, the whole album feels driven by demonic growls, and the guitars are packed full of blazing melodies and riffs galore. “Torn Asunder (Cursed 13 cover)” begins at a mid-paced tempo, the melodic passage is noteworthy, and the scale and precise tone of the chunky guitars are damned brutal.

There is no doubt that the cohesive work of the guitars has an elaborate aspect and has a refined mark of sheer technicality. The drums on the album’s title track “Lycaon” boom and pound like a war machine maintaining an incredible grit throughout the tempos. Grá’s fourth album signifies the style of contemporary Swedish black metal, with the quality of the composition and the excellent vocals of Heljarmadr adding a charismatic tone to the songs. All these traits project the old-school spirit, and even in Bathory’s cover song (Chariots of Fire), the blackened fury ignites the eternal flame the fierce vocals, and the thrashing drums bring some great moments in a straightforward manner.

The stupendous guitar work and the black-and-roll attitude of modern Norwegian black metal bands are showcased, Grá’s gears into blackened aggression on “Ett avskedsbrev”.  The guitars tackle every spectrum of black metal, from the catchy melodies on the opening track to the contemporary black and roll style, swaggering with the chainsaw guitars. “Lycaon” is likely to impress many fans with the solid pacing that keeps the overall viciousness at full display. One of the highlights of the album is the track “Brännmärkt”. Which is an ode to war carried out by a slow marching tempo that builds on heavy thundering guitars and with Heljarmadr‘s grim vicious vocals brought to the fore, the guitars and the drums kick in at full throttle.

The final track “Jaws of the Underworld” is a blitzkrieg cinematic showdown that explores a unique musical motif, but it also depicts an apocalyptic vision describing an obscure futuristic world. Despite the blackened energy and array of riffs the album somehow left me disappointed, “Lycaon” is a varied album even though the overuse of the black-and-roll style isn’t really my preferred style in black metal. In my opinion, the Swedish quartet has some much fuel in their tank but all these elements somehow made the album less significant, in my opinion, Grá should have rather tackled the classic style of black metal instead of swaggering.


  • Music / Songwriting 7/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 7/10
  • Originality 7/10

“Lycaon” is only 36 minutes long in duration but the Swedish four-piece ensures a plethora of blackened fierceness and melodic rhythms that meets the traditional style of black metal, the album is recommended for fans of Dark Funeral, Darkthrone, and Armagedda.

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