Metal, Post-Black Metal

Soul Grip – Not Ever (Review)

Band: Soul Grip
Album: Not Ever
Genre: Post-Black Metal
Country: Belgium
Release date: 2nd of November 2018
Released via Consouling Sound

During the last couple of years post and post-black metal claimed an ever greater share of my music consumption. Going beyond the often limited musical and ideological conventions of classical black metal in a strict sense, makes the music so much valuable for me. Within these subgenres, Belgium seems to have a musical epicenter including the collaborative music collective Church of Ra with bands such as Amenra, Oathbreaker and Wiegedood, just to name a few. So after I first read about Soul Grip from Ghent, it was a kind of no-brainer to give these guys a listen and so should you!

“Not Ever” marks the band’s first full lenght album, engineered by Nikita Kamprad (whom you might know as musician within Germanys’ Der Weg einer Freiheit) and released via Consouling Sounds. For their interpretation of modern black metal, the band fuzes raw and unblended black metal elements with compositions of epic and emotionally oppressing soundscapes, creating a dark melancholic monolith of heavy music.
Where on their release “Avalon” a more chaotic and hardcore-flavoured undertone was present, the band dives into more ambient and athmospheric songstructures on their recent release. This emotional contrast between cathartic energy on the one hand and more epic and somber elements on the other, is creating a down-dragging and even depressing feeling to the listener.

The opening track “Ton Rêve” starts off with a hellish scream of vocalist Nathan Vander Vaet, directly diving into the rush of raw and bitterly cold black metal riffing, driven forward by blast beats and bass guitar lines of the rythm section consisting of Gert Stals and Joren De Roeck. In between, this mayhem gets interrupted by a slower, more ambient clean guitar section, which allows the listener to have a short rest. In the end section of the track the bands grades up their sound by adding some piano chords which rounds off the sound experience of the track very nicely.
The following track “Ailes Noircies” perfectly demonstrates Soulgrips’ capability of composing song structures which build up a grim and haunting wall of sound, just to rip it apart again by the cathartic and dissonant riffing.
After the two-parter “Grav I and II”, the band gets a little bit more progressive on “Grand” by putting some unexpected breaks and effects between the great guitar sections.
With the epic “Fiend” Soul Grip puts out everything they have to offer on this last track. Reflecting everything what happened before, the song perfectly wraps up the whole record creating a final melancholic state of trance. I enjoy the band’s exploring of sounds and evolvement on this track very much and I am very curious whether the band is pushing the limits even further in the future.

All in all, “Not Ever” is a really great choice for listeners who like their metal blackened, raw but athmospheric as well. In my opinion the band made a big step forward compared to their last release, but here and there it would have been nice, if the band could have catched more uniqueness and variety with their compositions. I hope they can achieve to get even further with their upcoming efforts. Cheers!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

7/10

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