If you’ve been casting an eye on Ireland in the last two or three years, you may have noticed that it has become fertile ground for some exciting black metal bands; Sodb, Slidhr immediately spring to mind while you have upstarts like Ceaseless Blight. The mysterious Krawwl are the newest entity rearing their ugly heads with a demo tape of viciously meandering BM that has taken some traditional black metal influences and contorted them into something they can call their own.
At less than 20 minutes though, this demo is if anything a taster and sample of what’s been festering under the surface, but a taste worth it nonetheless. This demo instantly grabs you with its balance between grimy atmosphere and production and the presence of actual riffs as well as judicial use of melody.
After a very brief intro, the first track lays down the gauntlet quite ferociously with trembling guitars and wretched, scorched earth vocals. One of the very first things that one will note about this demo is its production quality. While anything but clean and shimmering, Krawwl have still opted for a spacious and airy sound to unfurl.
‘II’ sees the band recoil though into a mid tempo black metal haze, which makes the atmosphere all the more brooding and ominous. Soon sleek melodic guitars take centre stage as the drums quicken in pace, almost reminiscent of Blut Aus Nord at their most melodic.
The third outing is Krawwl at their most wretched, drawing on some doomier elements in the tracks closing minute or two that don’t necessarily recall your typical doom metal but more so the misanthropic vibes of Altar of Plagues’ ‘Watchers Restrained’.
Final song, ‘IV’, is a whole other beast though, wrapping up this succinct demo appropriately. The vocals are their fiercest yet with some of the most interesting riffs of the demo tastefully executed as well.
The only real complaint that can be levelled against Krawwl, and this demo specifically, is its length of 20 swift minutes. Much like some of the bands mentioned above, this a band that needs great room and space to conjure something imposing. Granted, the demo does a good job of setting the scene but what comes next is imperative.