Swedish black metal band Grimtone may be new to the music scene but the band arrives with an already impressive pedigree. The band is comprised of Michael Lang of doom metal band Stonegriff, and Linus Calstedt of Nebulous Aura and Extermination. Grimtone came in to existence in 2016 when Grimtone was inspired to write black metal music and Momento Mori is their debut. As the name of the band suggests, this album contains some truly grim style black metal that hearkens back to the early Norwegian days. The album eases you in with the first track, a melodic instrumental that is short but sweet.  You can hear their doom metal background with this track. But then they launch into “Souls Reborn In Hate” and it becomes clear what the band is here for. Pure, cold, grim, traditional black metal. From the get go we are lambasted with hard and fast blast beats and judicious lashings of the “Norwegian” riff. The vocals are reminiscent of early Darkthrone, gutteral and crushing, yet surprisingly clear. Straight away, the band launch into themes of death painting a vivid yet brutal picture.

The next song, “The Blood Of The Dead”, continues the assault much as it started. There are different tempos and key changes, but they stay within the established style and sound. The title track of Memento Mori keeps this pace but the technical skills of the members start to shine through. The blast beats on this track hit hard and heavy, whilst the guitars soar. The musical style between each song is similar but they nail it. With “Fields Of Pale Limbs” the band start to stretch themselves musically. The drum-work branches out to a wider range of sounds including more cymbal work.  They take the old school sound and add their own fiendish spin and really find their feet musically. This was definitely the stand out track of the album.

With “Armageddon (Rise From Hell)”, they continue to extend themselves and experiment with different sounds but still anchored around the fact this is pure black metal. This song is well composed with more complex guitar sounds. Witches Lair starts continues on from this, but has a slower, heavier pace. Their doom influences start to come to the fore. The vocals appear to have had an effect applied, giving them an echoey otherworldly sound that pairs well with the continued themes of death and the end of life.

The album finishes off with “Empress Of Black Light”. This song is pure old school, grim black metal.  It is the most atmospheric track on the album and brings us, in a way, back to the start.  Overall this album knows what it is about. Black metal, pure and simple. The influences of Darkthrone, Enslaved, and Skogen become clear within the first listen. This album is not ambitious but it is solid. If you are after a brutal 45 minutes of grim, black rage this album is for you. For fans of this particular style, I highly recommend it.

Pre-order your copy of Memento Mori here!