Multi-instrumentalist and ultimate blackaholic Lord Valtgryftåke has released quite an impressing slew of releases over the last couple of months. Amongst his latest offerings we do find the second album of his solo-act Ründgard. Like many of such over-prolific musicians, not everything Lord Valtgryftåke has produced is equally interesting. And that is only putting it mildly. The recording he put out under his own Lord Valtgryftåke name and for instance Grymmstalt and Old Castles were quite underwhelming. But he does counter this with work with Gryftigæn and Mánþiel, which do well exceed the mid-range. To the latter list, we can now also generously add Ründgard.
Whether good or bad, none of the work by Lord Valtgryftåke is really original and I am quite sure he is not interested in being the next Dødheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende or Arcturus. On the contrary. He seems to pride himself on a sound as authentic as possible that is close to the primal gods of Norwegian Black Metal. This time the man chose to creep up to the sound of very early Dimmu Borgir (‘For All Tid’-era) and Gehenna (mainly ‘First Spell’). ‘Ulvmonddomānen’ is a predominantly slow to mid-paced piece of Black Metal that leans heavily on moody keyboards and nestles the album in that warm and authentic ambience. The vocals thankfully stay far away from the Inquisition-esque reptilian croak he displayed on older Mánþiel records, here Lord Valtgryftåke is availed of a more standard rasp and some clean, theatrical vocals more akin to spoken word performance. The very word on this sophomore album definitely is atmosphere, which was already the case on the first Ründgard album, but Lord Valtgryftåke definitely stepped up quite an impressive bit. Anyone who has a weak spot for old Norwegian Black Metal, the atmospheric way, should do themselves a favour in checking out ‘Ulvmonddomānen’ as it definitely is amongst Lord Valtgryftåke best work to date.