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Nordisk Vinter (1993)

Grimm was a black metal project that hailed from Norway and released only a single demo before disappearing. I've seen some claim that Grimm was a precursor to Carpathian Forest, though in actuality the latter was already established and had recorded three demos before the former was even formed. It would seem that Nattefrost, Nordavind (credited as Lord Nosferatu and Lord Karnstein, respectively) and others were simply session musicians on the Nordisk Vinter demo, which saw the light of day in September 1993.

This brief demo starts out with a horror-inspired intro, featuring demonic voices and weird keyboard effects. It runs a little longer than necessary, but doesn't really hurt anything. As for the two primary tracks, the songwriting is very similar that found on Carpathian Forest's Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods. The style is rooted in old school black metal, with a definite Hellhammer/Celtic Frost influence heard on "The Embrace of the Cold". "Born in the Hands of Doom" is a slower-paced track that has more of a Norwegian vibe to it, reminiscent of early Emperor and leaving the power chords behind in favour of cold tremolo picking. There is also a small shift in the vocals, utilizing a more tormented sound. Both include small bursts of hellish lead solos, here and there, hearkening back to Hell Awaits. The sound quality is pretty decent for a cassette demo. The guitars possess a raw edge and are definitely the central focus. The drumming is certainly audible though never overpowering the rest of the music. The old school style, lacking blast beats, also accounts for some of this. The vocals are definitely one of the best things about this recording, as Nattefrost's sinister voice is really suited for this sort of material. I've said before that he never realized his full potential as a vocalist with the modern production and experimental songwriting that plagued must of his main band's output.

Nordisk Vinter is a really good demo, though much of that has to be thanks to the involvement of the Carpathian Forest guys, particularly Nattefrost's vocal contributions. Had Grimm evolved into a real band and released more music, with different members, it likely wouldn't have been as good as this. So often I end up saying that it's a shame that this or that band didn't continue on, but sometimes a little one-off recording is enough. Such is the case with Grimm.
(29 Aug. 2016)

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