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From the Northern Wallachian Forest… Evilfeast Returns

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Jakub “GrimSpirit” Grzywacz is the quintessence of the solo black metal artist. Enshrouded in self-controlled mystery, GrimSpirit says more with his music than the few words he offers outside it. Even a lengthy interview with black metal historian Dayal Patterson offers little other than his feelings of solitude and reverence for nature. This is the true standard, but so few have remained so enigmatic and disciplined for as long as Evilfeast‘s mastermind, now nearing two decades of mysterious, wintry activity from his stronghold in Poland.

As GrimSpirit is the archetype of the artist, Evilfeast is the embodiment of winter and ancient magic. Approaching his fifth album, the project’s first in five years following 2011’s celebrated Wintermoon Enchantment, GrimSpirit looks to the past. From a time of imposing, haunted castles, lore, superstition, and long, life-threatening winters, Elegies of the Stellar Wind finds new clarity in hindsight, offering a more cinematic representation of the ancient evils and blistering cold which fuels Evilfeast’s music.

Though still a keyboard-laden, buzzing mass of ice-cold atmosphere, Evilfeast’s music seems more polished and direct now, like GrimSpirit spent more time crafting atmosphere rather than utilizing his classic “blown out winter winds” sound, and it works to his benefit. The music remains a constant here, the artist’s now-classic fusion of second wave frigidity with a more orchestral sense of bombast, but a relatively “cleaner” Evilfeast unveils more of this solitary musician’s talents. Now, like hearing the project for the first time all over again, GrimSpirit’s sense of composition is more than a shift beneath a blizzard; the music suddenly moves with purpose and poise, and the ancient sounding blackened atmospheres weave their way through the dense forests of Evilfeast’s own design instead of losing themselves in its thickets.

Do not let this notion of clarity be a discouraging “removing of Evilfeast’s shroud,” however. What makes this project so special is GrimSpirit’s balance of strong songwriting with a crystalline, haunting presence of winter’s bite. Much like the cover art implies, Elegies of the Stellar Wind is this sepulchral mass of cold stone and ancient spirits, somewhere in the deep Wallachian forests. A once noble place left to frost-rot in complete isolation. I imagine GrimSpirit resides somewhere inside, consumed by his own, frozen mystery. The truest black metal isolate living in the kingdom of his own design.

Elegies of the Stellar Wind will be released by Eisenwald on December 15th. Head below to listen to an exclusive preview of “From the Northern Wallachian Forest… Tyranny Returns”.

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