Gandreid was born in 2011 as a studio project of Dáublódir, a musician from Bergen who first reached my attention through Skygge. After he “dug up and blew some dust off” old ideas from somewhen between 1999 and 2002, he recorded Gandreids first album Nordens Skalder – and both name and album title give you a very good idea of what’s to come: “Gandreid” is Norwegian for the Wild Hunt, “Skalder” are poets who composed at Norwegian and Icelandic courts in the Viking and Middle Ages. Therefore, Gandreid produces Metal as black as night and as cold as the never ceasing winds in Bergen!
There is a very strong pagan element on Nordens Skalder. Especially the viking choirs and the very rare moments where the synthies and acoustic guitars dominate the music (for example in “Skaldens Sønner”) perfectly underline the pagan impetus on this album. Otherwise, it is definitely one hellish piece of fast and rough Black Metal of Norwegian provenience. Gandreid, a duo consisting of Dáublódir (Vocals, Drums and Lyrics) and Ildsint (known from Svadlifare; with Gandreid he plays all strings, Synthies and additional vocals), remind me a lot of Taake: they create a very dense atmosphere but never lose sight of their origins. Nordens Skalder sounds overall accordingly to that: angry, in parts heavily distorted guitars dominate the sound, synthies are in the background, as mentioned before, Dáublódir’s voice is really cold so you can sense pure hatred whenever necessary. Also, Gandreid carefully experiment with sound and instruments, but never take those thoughts too far (is that a banjo I hear on “Sorgens Sti”?); another point that puts them near Taake.
The lyrics on Nordens Skalder deal with known ground so far: the dark abyss that lurks in every one of us; interactions between human souls and nature, the love Gandreid bears the landscape in their homeland (and, boy, Bergen IS beautiful!) and, of course, Norwegian mythology; all brought to us in Norwegian lyrics. Only exception here is “Voyage Towards Redemption“ and therefore it stands out – a song about the Wild Hunt that takes the souls towards a dark kingdom, where it reigns as king and is “never to be scorched by the suffocating light in the place of those, still cursed to live”. That sums it up pretty good, though my favourite piece on Nordens Skalder is the first song, “Efter Mørkets Frembrudd”.
These two Norwegians created with Nordens Skalder a really fine first album that does not surprise me at all, neither musically nor concerning the lyrics. It is, however, a fine debut. If you’re into Taake and this rather harsh paganism, give Gandreid a try, they won’t disappoint you!
Gandreid are currently working on their second album, yet without title, that will be released via Naturmacht Productions in 2015. Here’s a first glance at what is to come: “Berg Grav”.
Gandreid – Nordens Skalder
Naturmacht Productions, released 30.12.2013
10,00 Euro – Buy
1. Efter Mørkets Frembrudd
3. Skaldens Sønner
5. Visjoner Om En Kvervet Storhetstid
6. Han Som Stod Åleina
7. Voyage Towards Redemption
8. Svart Flamme
9. Blodstyrt,Endelikt & Velklang
10. Sorgens Sti
Total: 44:26 min.