GORR: Kvit Som Snøen, Kald I Blikket
Release year: 2021
Starting out as a one-man band from the northwestern coastline of Norway, Gorr has since then expanded across the Atlantic. Joining founding member Skuggimaðr on guitar is Hateful Wind aka Evan Barton – of somewhat dubious Neckbeard Deathcamp fame.
However, you’d be hard pressed to find any particularly American element in this music. No, it is obviously Skuggimaðr’s native Norway and its native norsecore that’s the guiding light of Gorr on Kvit Som Snøen, Kald I Blikket, which with its running time of 26 minutes is somewhere between a mini-album and a full-length.
Drawing from the rich and much emulated wellspring of norsecore, it is scarcely surprising that originality is not Gorr’s forte. There’s a decidedly familiar Norwegian twist to the sound, drawing from the more atmospheric and brooding strains of the norse mutation of black metal. This sounds like the snowed-in forests, biting cold and perpetually twilit days of nordic winter. A lot of the time the tempos are well below any speeding limits, the duo eschewing non-stop blasting for lurching lower mid-tempos and steady galloping beats, giving the melodic but raw tremolo-rich riffing room to breathe. The vocals, handled by Skuggimaðr who is also on bass and drum duties, are a strangulated hoarse rasp.
Despite running low in originality on their basic blueprint, Gorr do manage to put together a sound that isn’t the most stereotypical, classic Norwegian sound. In part it is the presence of more bass than was common in the heyday of Norwegian black metal, partially it is the vocals, but Gorr tread the thin and weird line between generic and characteristic sound. They’re not original, but they’re not generic either. I guess you could say their sound is classic; their own take on the classic Norwegian sound.
Kvit Som Snøen, Kald I Blikket is a well-crafted if not slightly run-of-the-mill modern piece of classic Norwegian black metal. Its problems lie not so much in sound or execution, but in the slight grayness of composition. I find myself liking the cold, wintry sound and especially Skuggimaðr’s torturedly constricted vocals, and I honestly can’t fault a band much for drawing from one of the richest wells of black metal. But even after repeated listens, there just aren’t that many memorable moments on the release. Nary a one, to be perfectly frank. This is the kind of stuff that you find yourself digging when you’re listening to it, but won’t find yourself missing later.
As such, Kvit Som Snøen, Kald I Blikket is a release that has plenty of potential… but less in terms of actual delivery. For sure, it’s good for a few spins, and is good enough to warrant keeping an eye on what Gorr will do in the future, but in the long run, there’s not enough on this release to keep you coming back for more.