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Gribberiket : Sluket

The debut full-length from Gribberiket is a chaotic mix of blackened Funeral Doom.

"Chaotic" - that's the word that immediately came to mind upon listening to Sluket' for the first time. I wouldn't usually correlate that word with historic Doom Metal successes over the years either, which isn't an ideal start for Norway's Gribberiket. I wish I could say that my second listening granted more flattering terminology for the debutant Doomsters but that simply didn't happen.

I don't think it can be disputed that this music is a form of Funeral Doom, which is certainly a step in the right direction from my last review, which was essentially a Black Metal release ('Hoinar' by Bereft Of Light). However, I am still more inclined to push this release toward Black Metal fans because 'Sluket' does not have a Doom atmosphere. It's not brooding, meandering, or thought-provoking; it really is simply chaotic, which largely stems from Gribberiket's vocal "arrangements".

Essentially, what you'll find when listening to this release is that it's low budget Funeral Doom with random spoken words, yells, and screams that really don't correlate with the music. The synths fade into the background too much for my liking but it's not as prominent a problem because of what they do with their vocals - and I am not sure if that's a good or a bad thing! I don't honestly remember the drummer changing pace for the entire album. As for riffs - don't get me started. You can barely hear guitars in this mix for the most part. I wish this paragraph was borne out of me being a Doom purist that thinks that everything post-2000 is a carbon copy of an underground back from 1994 that only 72 people have listened to or something else just as "kvlt" but that's not the case. I'm more than happy to appreciate a good album, even if it has been done before. Sadly, this release is an absolutely undeniable fiasco, even for me. Part of me wondered if meshing so many negatives would actually create some kind of positive but that simply doesn't happen on this album.

Even for Black Metal fans, I am not sure there's enough here to enjoy. The song structures are very basic, leaving little to the imagination. I do enjoy the powerful tortured vocals but on 'Sluket' you're either going to love them or hate them; there's no middle ground here. You won't find many Doom bands with these kind of vocals and I think there's a very good reason for that - it's because it rarely works with the status quo of Doom releases. Fusing screeching vocals with what is generally slow, atmospheric music is an incredibly difficult task to pull off. Only Monarch comes to mind for a band that I've enjoyed such an approach from, and they had to slow their music down to snail's pace to pull it off. Unfortunately, the drummer on 'Sluket' keeps the music moving too fast with an angry yet measured cymbal assault.

Here's where it gets interesting, and possibly hilarious. I actually really want to enjoy this release because the tortured vocals appeal to me. Furthermore, I've never really fallen out of love with Norway for producing Funeral. In that sense, it's kind of like when your dog destroys your living room but you still think the dog is great so you pat it on the head and give it a biscuit. That's the approach I have with Gribberiket - I really want them to be terrific and to give these fantastic tortured vocals a good home but they've seemingly done everything in their power to ensure that I am disappointed. Kudos to them - they've managed to succeed in that approach.

Finally, I've not received an actual copy of this album to review so apologies if there's anything that I have missed from the inlay that I would have mentioned in my review such as lyrical content or the names of which person has ruined a particular part of the release. I'm fairly old-fashioned, I suppose - I prefer an actual copy. I still buy CDs/Tapes because you really get a feel for a band or an album if you have it sat in front of you, not to mention the lovely nuggets of information you can stumble across. Suffice to say that the absence of a physical copy - along with the directionless chaos of the band - has left me feeling despondent. If I were to shake off that malaise and briefly enter an optimistic world packed full of light and wonder, I might tentatively suggest that fans of Silencer, Bethlehem, and even early Monarch could briefly enjoy this album - with emphasis on the word "briefly". That's as good as it gets though. Personally, I doubt I'll ever listen to 'Sluket' again.

The only saving grace for Gribberiket - if the online world is to be believed - is that this is their first full-length release so there's still plenty of time for them to learn a few (spoiler alert: I actually mean "a lot of") handy lessons and hopefully produce something better. It shouldn't take much - wind chimes on a stormy night above a singing drunken sailor would be a start. Such a pity. Beautiful country, great tortured vocals; horrible album.

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Reviewer's rating: 4/10


Tracklist :
1. Sluket
2. Gjestebud
3. See, Der Blev En Død Udbaaren
4. Med Sine Lidelser
5. Nytelsen Og Oppløsningen

Duration : Approx. 45 minutes

Visit the Gribberiket bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-03-04 by Ian Morrissey
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