Title: Dolt land
Label: Nordvis Produktion
Release date: 21 September 2023
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording
Honestly… I wasn’t ready for this. I have been waiting for this album since the first day I saw the new release announcement. Because for me, Grift is “one of that special kind” music: atmospheric, extremely melancholic, painfully beautiful, capable of soothing my inner storms. And its new album, “Dolt land”, has exceeded my expectations by far. It’s a perfect album at so many levels…
First of all, let me tell you that “Dolt land” is an acoustic album. And this is not a thing Erik Gärdefors (the only person behind Grift) has never done: he already released two acoustic EPs in 2018 and 2022. But this is a full-length album, maybe a bit too much? Not at all, ‘cause Erik creates music that goes beyond Metal boundaries.
There are plenty of folk elements in his previous albums. Erik plays some traditional instruments because, as he stated in the interview I had the pleasure to do with him last year, “I really enjoy their way of sounding and it makes my songs more dynamic and atmospheric”. So, can you guess how atmospheric can be an album by Grift by using only acoustic and traditional instruments? … Yes…
The opener “Silverne stig” (“Silver pathway”) starts with the sound of tiny bells, soft sea waves and an owl I think (for those of you who are not familiar with Erik Gärdefors music, he uses to add animal sounds to his songs), then a melodica joins, until a guitar starts a soft melody. Erik’s voice is mild but with personality, here he uses two voice tracks to give more emphasis; there’s a bit of a reverb too. Or, as I say, as if he was singing into a small cave… After less than three minutes, there’s the addition of a shaker and a tambourine too. Guitar rhythm intensifies and also does Erik voice, using it into a more angst mode, his usual desperate screams appear. At this point, he has already reached my heart… This is an eight and a half minute song, the longest one in the album, with so many elements that you need to listen to it on repeat to catch them all. The guitar moaning, some steps in the forest, an always present owl, the organ, making the music flow and enveloping you with sorrow and sadness, entering your bones…
“Nattens pilgrim” (“Pilgrim of the night”), this song is so damn beautiful… I think it’s like an ode to the wild life in the woods. Erik uses some folk instruments and acoustic guitar, and he adds some bird singing too. His voice goes from anguished shrieks to calm speaking, and there’s a particular passage so full of tranquility that the world seems to stop, the bird appears again and the journey through nature can go on…
“En hemskog” (“A home forest”), here Erik “does his magic” again creating a living sonic landscape, where each note, each harmony, each bird sound is in its right place and all together speaks to you from the heart of the forest. The title makes reference to “home”, and by listening to this song I feel at home in some way. Ok this is only my impression, can’t be the same for everyone of course, but as a person who was raised in the country and I went into the forest almost every day of my childhood, it has a strong meaning. It makes me feel there again.
The following “På vingar slumrande” (“On wings in slumber”) keeps on showing us the beauty of nature; but this time, it puts me in a more melancholic mood. This time, a woodpecker appears in some near tree. And… at first I thought there was the sound of the real sea but it seems there’s an instrument that recreates it perfectly (and it’s called sea drum). “Evas backe” (“Eva’s hill”) it’s almost a totally instrumental piece. Its tone is a bit somber, and there’s what seems to be a sound of something hanging and swinging (it seems from a rope), all through the track, or maybe it’s a wooden wheel? The organ and the sea drum are the background for the melodica and acoustic guitar harmonies. It’s peaceful, deadlike calm.
The last song of the album, “Gillene sal” (“Golden hall”)… it has so many bird sounds, folk instruments, and the peaceful effect of sea sound. Erik’s voice is calm here, like telling a story. And again… I don’t know what it’s about, but the tone is vibrant and dynamic and I feel like witnessing the magic that the forest hides within. This song ends like the album begins: the same tune played by the melodica, cradled by the sea sound and the organ. Like a circle closing, an endless cycle. The cycle of wildlife. It never ends, it just restarts again every season.
I don’t need to know Swedish to catch Erik’s message. Because he speaks an emotional language, and you can fully understand it if you dare to enter his universe of nature, folklore and melancholy.
Maybe Grift music is so deep and emotional that not everyone will catch its beauty. For me personally, “Dolt land” is at another level from his previous albums. No blast beats, no electric guitar, no Metal… but I don’t need this here. Erik has created a fantastic album of dark folk, forest folk, nordic folk or whatever you may call it, where the music, nature sounds and his voice do pure magic. He carries me there and through Grift music I dare to be free. Will you dare too? Well… This is an 11/10 for me, but I can only rate it 10/10 Sílvia
10/10 Immortal Classic
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