KHOLD
"Krek"

(Candlelight)

01. Krek
02. Blod og Blek
03. Innestengt I Eikekiste
04. Oskorei
05. Byrde
06. Lysets Flukt
07. Grepet Om Kniven
08. Midvinterblot
09. Varde
10. Silur Wie

RATING: 7.5/10

Ya keep waiting for KHOLD to get old, and for their less-is-more approach to finally reach its logical conclusion and disappear into a cloud of sardonic nothingness (very kvlt nothingness, naturally). But we're on album number four, they're still slowing down, they seem to give even less of a shit about what they're doing, and yet they remain oddly compelling. KHOLD deal in primitive, slow, elemental, blocky black metal that literally sounds, at times, like they're making it up as they go along (check out the "whoops, we almost missed the ending" part that concludes the kickass "Blod og Blek").

The presence of a bass guitar that's not only audible, but rudimentarily inventive at times, adds to the loose, live feel they exude. Their occasional blasting fits are off-the-rails and clattering, but it's in the slow passages that KHOLD excel — the midsection of "Lysets Flukt" is so sparse as to be barely there, but it's choked with fetid atmosphere and a timeless dread. Song structures are skeletal, hooks are barely riffs, but damned if it doesn't work — try to dissect "Innestengt I Eikekiste" and you'll be left with dry little twigs of riffs, nothing interesting, yet together it makes an awesome song.

How does KHOLD take riffs that would sound like a 10-year-old's first lesson in the hands of anyone else, and make them into such icy slivers of lethal black metal atmosphere? The answer may lie in their lyrics, which I can't help you on — or it could be that in this over-tweaked age of soulless high-tech recording, sheer conviction and (blackened) heart can still seep into a recording and give it authenticity and bite.

Whatever "it" is, KHOLD have "it" in spades, and "Krek" is another malevolent masterpiece (masterpiss?) from these Norwegian cellar dwellers. Admittedly, you may not need all four albums' worth of this black bliss, and I still think eventually the concept is gonna self-destruct. But as of right now, they've still got a stranglehold on this primeval, snarling sound. None more grim.

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