Premiere: Greytomb’s “Null”
Vibrant black metal handcrafted by elite members of the Australian scene? Resplendent, atmospheric riffs and emotive vocals? A deep sense of grandeur and scope? All this and more you’ll find in Greytomb’s upcoming album Monumental Microcosm. Today I’m pleased as hell to offer you a ride through the spiral star cluster that is “Null.”
Greytomb’s ability to paint artful, expressionistic music should come as no surprise when you consider their shared lineage with label mates Norse and Somnium Nox, but the depth and breadth of their sound will still manage to make your breath catch in your throat and compel you to dig deeper through multiple re-listens. Greytomb are a band unafraid to tap into the entire spectrum of black metal’s heritage. N. Magur’s tortured vocals, ranging from depressive whispers to tormented shrieks to an absolutely ragged capitulation at “Null’s” conclusion evoke all manner of emotions and buck the callous trend of paint-by-numbers screams and growls so commonplace in extreme metal. The effect can be jarring, even annoying at first, but as with Costin Chioreanu’s performance on Bloodway‘s Mapping the Moment with the Logic of Dreams, the abrasive vocals add vitality and drama to an expansive backdrop of pensive music, culminating in instant memorability.
The music itself is mysterious, alluring, seductive. J. Angus’s rich phrasing and thoughtful note choices allow him to construct pensive, labyrinthine chords choked with atmosphere and tension. The riffs themselves remain on the coy and atmospheric side, more introverted with their sustained notes and layered harmonies, than headbanging, but they act as a wonderful foil to Forge’s violent but well-stated drum performance. Forge blasts when needed, but his attack never overwhelms the coiling lines woven by Angus and bassist D. Coffey; the drummer is content to merely accentuate the little harmonic flourishes with a tasteful fill or a splash of color to deepen the expression of the song.
Ultimately, “Null” is the kind of track to lose yourself in. The winding structure pulls you deeper into an inward place, the cold and dark tone clinging to you like a familiar gloom. The narrative elements compel exploration, and each new listen will reward inquisitive ears. If you enjoy the expressive work of fellow esoteric black metal acts Schammasch and Lvx Haeresis, you’ll find much to love here. Find a window overlooking the falling leaves of autumn and surrender yourself to the voyage of “Null.”