Are you one of those persons that connect music with landscapes and paintings? And have you ever wondered what kind of sounds or soundtrack would fit a Caspar David Friedrich painting? As soon as I started listening to Kval’s self-titled debut full-length (Hypnotic Dirge Records – 2017), the first pictures that came into my mind were exactly the foggy and desolated landscapes of paintings like “The Abbey in the Oakwood”, “Monastery Graveyard” and “Rocky Ravine in the Elve Sandstone Mountains”. If Caspar Friedrich had the power and technology to trap voices of lost souls to those landscapes, I’m sure the choice would be Kval’s cold and forlorn voice. Born in Finland, this one man enterprise, delivers a merciless, tortured and decadent atmospheric depressive Black Metal that will catch the ears and attention of Burzum, Xasthur and Urfaust fans.
The open ceremony will be held by a minimalist atmospheric track that some moments later morphs into a massive ten minutes composition full of relentless despair (“Sokeus”). The cold guitar’s distortion resembles the sound of TV static and suffocates Kval’s distant voice, giving this composition an extremely haunting ambiance. Kval sounds like a wandering spirit lost in limbo and the cadence of this work is built by slow-bleeding drum patterns.
“Kval” is an opus about isolation and alienation that carries the burden of emptiness and the weight of sorrow. It shares them with those that find comfort in diving, exploring and getting lost in these kinds of feelings. Exploring the most dismal corners of your mind and soul, is just like wandering amongst ruins of old abandoned buildings and gloomy dark forests.
This full-length has a very well defined baseline that gift us with ambiental interludes of introspection (like “Kaiku Tyhjyydestä”) to mitigate the crescent suffering built by tracks like “Kuolonku”. Along with the icy distortion and the drum arrangements, electronic and synth sound effects can be found, bringing more melodic complexity to this work and turning it into something even more out of this world: “Polkuni Vailla Suuntaa” and “Kuolonkuu” are perfect examples of that.
Kval delivers a raw and visceral sound that sticks surprisingly easily to the ear. And although we can find here patterns and features present in other Black Metal projects, this debut opus mirrors a very personal approach of this monochromatic soundscape.