Admitted, I am arriving a little late to the party with Gryftigæn’s ‘Wurmwaldgaistoz’, as it already saw the light of day in spring of this year. Yet, to be honest, on this side of the planet the album does feel very much more into place around this time, when winter is coming and the icy winds are starting to blow. The cover artwork does already give you a hint of what to expect. With an album cover like this, it’s not hard to guess what to prepare for. Not only is the artwork a continuation of the previous two albums, it also fits into a tradition of the new generation of indefinable black-and-white covers with snow as we have seen a lot from bands like Bekëth Nexëhmü, for instance. Regardless, you can definitely get ready for a serving of icy and inhospitable Black Metal.
For those who have gotten around to listening to the previous two full-length albums by this Chilean one-man band, not counting its contribution to two compilation albums, will recognise a sound that is increasingly working its way towards a kind of otherworldly and extremely unpleasant apotheosis. On 2021’s ‘Fehunðyrdauðr’, the sound was already a step further densified with layers of keyboards and a mouldy overall sound, but where previously, with some imagination, one could still talk about “Raw Atmospheric Black Metal”, on this latest work that has become something even more difficult. The bedraggled sound of yore has now evolved into a sound that seems to have been dug up from even deeper and more smothering Chilean dungeons and caves. It is the production that takes all the texture out of the guitars and fuses it with the drums and howling vocals into a great and extreme cold, nightmarish delirium.
The lack of clear structures and the entrenched, incantatory Ambient/almost Drone-like nature of the music do not exactly make ‘Wurmwaldgaistoz’ an easy record. But for admirers of the previous work for whom it can’t really be diabolical enough, or for those who think of themselves as having a sufficiently trained ear, the album does offer a pleasant challenge. Because, for those who dare to dig deeper and manage to unravel this Gordian Knot will be masters of the secrets of the South American Black Metal scene.