Monday 20 May 2024

Heksegrav - Svart Portal (Album Review)

Release Date: May 31st 2024. Record Label: The Lasting Dose Records. Formats: CD/DD

Svart Portal: Tracklisting




Band Members

GARM - Everything


Svart Portal is the debut album from One Man Doom/Sludge Metal Band Heksegrav. The record is a twenty eight minute opus that explores the finer points of the Funeral Doom scene with roots within Sludge Metal, Heavy Metal and Stoner Metal. Heksegrav is full of different Progressive sounding atmospheres with Psychedelic textures and distorted melodies with a Drone based quality appearing within the opening track of GLØD.

GLØD lasts around seven minutes length with Heksegrav playing a mean variety of LOW & SLOW guitar passages with a nightmarish and bleakly heavy Funeral Doom march with Drone pastures that merges the sounds of Pallbearer, Black Sabbath and Sunn0))) for an Ambient style appearing on the early stages of the track. The vocals are pure DOOM & GLOOM obsessed with moments of Shamanic Chants and Extreme Levels of harsh growls which matches the music when it becomes more aggressive and moves at a quicker pace. The instrumental work is impressive with the mysterious GARM playing everything himself with menacing relish and supreme confidence.

Second song Sirkel is a bit shorter running around six minutes in length which opens with eerie Church Bells which I was expecting to be more Occult based but GARM settles for a subtle Post-Rock sound that slowly merges into an intense Doom/Drone Metal instrumental charge with Folk-esque movements being quite powerful with an emotional depth that I wasn’t expecting. The creative Doom Metal approach of Pallbearer, Type O Negative and My Dying Bride can be heard but when Heksegrav ventures over into obsessive Sludge/Doom Metal territory then the album becomes progressive and sludgy Psych based guitars allows the record to offer it’s great style of Gothic Heaviness.

The final track of RÅTE feels like a direct continuation of the previous tracks with GARM fusing the whole story as one creative element where the music is once again dominated by the Funeral Doom sonic landscape. The vocals are distorted and drift to that Shamanic style with the instrumental grooves becoming heavier with STONER based intent. There’s a heavy metal aspect that allows GARM to bring more extreme levels of noise and aggression whilst still providing a first rate style of Melodic Rock within the confinements of the epic fifteen minutes run time the song ultimately runs for. 

Svart Portal only lasts for twenty eight minutes in length but feels longer and that’s a good thing. As Heksegrav has packed a lot of different HEAVY METAL sounds within the albums short run time with an adventurous style of Psych Metal, Prog Metal and that fabulous Funeral Doom energy which is where Svart Portal impresses the most.

This is a sublime debut release from Heksegrav which is superbly impressive on a technical level with GARM proving what a wonderful musician he actually is and showing what a keen creative mind that he has as well. The album is being released by superb record label The Lasting Dose Records who have released two standout releases already this year with GRIN and DAEVAR. If the label keeps releasing great albums such as this in the future then they could be the next “CULT” label for the underground scene to fully get behind. 

However, this is Heksegrav’s moment to shine in the spotlight and I’m quite excited to hear what Heksegrav will release in the future.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to The Lasting Dose Records and Against PR for the promo.

Svart Portal will be available to buy on CD/DD via The Lasting Dose Records from Friday 31st May 2024.