In 2022, Grieve appeared to have drawn their last breath. The band, consisting of Finnish Black Metal icons Werwolf (Satanic Warmaster and many more) and v-Khaoz (Vargrav and numerous others) had announced that ‘Funeral’ would be their first and last album. It turns out they lied. ‘Wolves of the Northern Moon’ marks the return of Grieve a year after their funeral, to be released on CD on march 31st (vinyl coming some time later) by Werewolf Records.
For the return, a new face has appeared on the band picture alongside v-Khaoz and Werwolf. Without information about the line-up, a tad of amateur Sherlock Holmes work was required, but his identity in the end wasn’t too hard to unravel. Hellwind Inferion, vocalist of Sargeist and Desolate Shrine and band companion of v-Khaoz in amongst others Embryonic Slumber has spewed his typical vocals on the newest Grieve record. Obviously, the shift from Werwolf’s characteristic piercing shrieks to the raspier approach of Hellwind Inferion is one noticeable chance. With every release that Hellwind Inferion contributes to he impresses me more, and already within the first minutes of opener ‘Wolves of the Wintermoon’ his longstretched outcries and wolflike howls have convinced me that adding him to the line-up was the perfect move for the band. Otherwise, the music goes even more back to the basics of Gorgoroth and Dødheimsgard on their earliest releases, with hints of Treldom shining through this time as well.
A raw guitar sound, authentic sounding basic drums and a thick bass guitar together with the raspy vocals, you won’t easily find albums sounding more like the 90’s Norwegian Black Metal scene these days. There are even some minimal keys added further back in the mix such as in the opener or in ‘Damnation Nocturne’, which add a touch of a haunting atmosphere to diversify the album. Besides the two previously mentioned tracks, further highlights include the more grooving tracks like ‘Ancient Enemy of Life’, the downright catchy ‘Glacier’ and the Youtube single ‘Deep in the Ice-Cold Mountains’ with a slightly more Finnish ring to it until they break into this killer Dødheimsgard riff. And let’s not forget that opening shriek of ‘Eternal War, Winter War’ with those haunting keys in the background. Honestly, every second of the nearly thirty minutes on offer is lethal and to the point Black Metal at it’s finest.
Grieve is back from the grave with an unexpected new record. The cracking voice of Hellwind Inferion turns out to be a perfect complement to the instrumental performance of v-Khaoz and Werwolf as ‘Wolves of the Northern Moon’ is the pinnacle of their Gorgoroth and Dødheimsgard inspired Black Metal thus far. Now let’s hope they stay together for more as this is the quality stuff that’s hard to get enough of!