GROMTH – The Immortal

GROMTH – The Immortal

(…this article is in English…)

Not quite the wilderness but for long time city dweller such as myself, this is a journey to bandit country. Myself and chauffeur for the day, a man I like to call Boss, Roy Kristensen are on the way to the Jessheim/Gjedrum area which sits itself cosily in the same vicinity as Oslo’s main airport for a trip to listen to the newly completed Gromth album "The Immortal".

Photo: Wenche Munkelien

…listen to samples from the album here…

Now you might well be wondering just who in the name of Rob Halford’s whip are Gromth? As well you might, theirs is a world less penetrated up til now but that might all be changing. Gromth are a band from the aforementioned area featuring drummer Tjodalv (Susperia, ex-Dimmu Borgir), Ole on vocals, André Aaslie (orchestration) and guitarist Grimd (Khold). A band whose latest epic has had words and concept penned by that very man I like to call Boss – Mr. Roy Kristensen.

We arrive at the lodgings of Grimd. It is a fucking spectacular place. Like, amazing. The living room was virtually a venue. There was a studio where half of the listening took place. Apparently the lads being able to use hammers and nails rather well were able to posh the place up and….well….enough of that…

gromth_theimmortal.jpgSeated with luminaries from Norway’s Metal Hammer and Scream Magazines among others we are treated all too well with snacks, beer and pizza and as the album heeds the starting pistol – we are about to enter "The Immortal"

Skip a few hours later and I am left with a massive headache, not from any sort of musical abuse, but rather from the sheer failure to understand how this lot independently undertook this musical TYPHOON. We have all heard the self praising bullshit in the past – "This album is the soundtrack for a movie that has not been made", blah blah b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. Well, in this case (and I cannot believe I am writing this) that is exactly how to describe this absolute schizophrenic journey. Insanity.

I will NOT try and break the album down into tracks, there would be no point for it is farrrr too complex, multi-layered and involved. I will point out that the words are something in themselves: a deep and textured run through a story that is summarised in it’s ending by Kristensen himself as "a concept about humanity, what we do to ourselves and the result of our actions".

The thing is that the music is equally as layered, textured and involved. In all honesty, often it proved far too claustrophobic for me. Just as if it were following a script put to film with emotions jumping and dipping according to the story yet this is one musical experience that I know will have possible legions foaming at the mouth. How do I know this? Well, I don’t but by the mere reference points musically I suspect as much.

There is the pomp and the bombast of newer Dimmu Borgir and their most recent platter with it’s own complexities springs to mind. I am even reminded in one or two places of that all too often overlooked "The Art Of Dreaming" masterpiece from Austria’s Golden Dawn but most of all I am reminded of the insanity of Italy’s Devil Doll.

Photo: Wenche Munkelien

Whilst overall I would consider much of the music, the keyboard/synth/programming aside, to fall into a pattern of repetition with many ‘pieces’ being formulaic I must raise a very strict point and that is that this album musically is ruled by the keyboards and the absolute genius in their composing. Maybe it does not always fall under the banner of what my pallet chooses normally but that does not stop me from being overwhelmed time and again at their sheer masterful construction.

So? What’s the good word? Maddened genius backed with an equally maddened storyboard and a rock solid, if sometimes overly straightforward Metal foundation. This one you gotta hear to even begin to comprehend.