Abaddon magazine

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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Review: Grievance – Nos Olhos da Coruja

Label: War Productions / Void Wanderer

Date: December 15th, 2020

Portuguese veteran returns with his fourth full length album, after… One and a half years!? I guess Koraxid’s schedule cleared out recently, so he is able to produce new Grievance records more frequently.

Actually, Koraxid’s one man band is active for over twenty years now, though the man himself has a long line of past bands he was involved in, some of them with decent reputation behind their names. A true warrior within Lusitanian borders, no doubt about it!

As for the new record, titled “In the Eyes of the Owl” (cool title, by the way), I must state that I am fairly disappointed by the sound itself. Production has almost completely gone sideways. A whole lot of bass is involved. Drums and vocals dominate, while the guitars are almost in the background. Pity, especially since the guitars are often crafted with immense imagination and skill. They do come to the surface on occasion, but still manage to sound a bit shy and in need of a bass guitar support. Which is abundant throughout.

Other than that, “Nos Olhos da Coruja” is a record worthy of your attention. Like I said, Grievance displays a whole lot of genuine solutions for making such a melancholic black metal sound captivating. Honestly, these lead guitars just needed a bit of a production push to the front and we would have a real gem in our hands.

The flow that these tracks offer is undeniable. Whether in longer or shorter tracks, Grievance builds up the atmosphere nicely. It is obvious Koraxid takes a lot of influences from old Scandinavia, while incorporating just enough of his rich home country background. It is in that mix that the success of “Nos Olhos da Coruja” lays.

While I’m at atmosphere, the melancholic line follows through and through. However, there’s this almost epic feeling and a certain pride that exudes from the record. Rarely can you find such an emotional involvement in a black metal record. Especially in one that is composed of all your regular means and methods of creation. No symphonies, no keyboards or similar enhancers. Real good job on that.

This production is absolutely killing me, I must say. Having heard the record countless times already, I can honestly say that the new Grievance is a great example of how to manage an interesting black metal record on a fairly raw playing field. Unfortunately, it is also a great example of how not to produce a black metal album.