Grift Syner 01Be it that Sweden’s Grift is named after the English word describing the acts of a con man or the Swedish word for “grave” is irrelevant to me. When I think of the word “grift,” my mind immediately turns to the clever 1973 film, The Sting. Having watched this movie close to a billion times, I recently discovered that my better half incorrectly assumed the characters were “drifters” rather than “grifters.” After some immature scorning, I came to the conclusion that the characters can just as easily be described as “drifters,” and so too can Grift‘s full-length debut, Syner. Grift‘s new opus is the soundtrack to an eternal road trip with unlimited fuel and ceaseless headlights; with no rest stops, no daylight, and no traffic of any kind. Trapped in your car with your memories, nightmares, and “what-ifs” haunting you at a steady pace of 55 mph through sultry deserts, ominous woodlands, and ridge-less prairies. Never to escape, and content with your situation, you’re comforted only by the soft hum of the engine, the Morse-code “dahs” of yellow on black, and the endless reel of cellophane recollections unfurling themselves over and over again in your mind.

Since the release of their 2013 EP, Frya Elegier, this Grift has ditched its drummer and Burzum-esque depressive black metal attitude and approached the newest release with something a little more unique. Exclusively controlled by lone-man, Erik Gärdefors (aka Perditor on Frya Elegier), Syner feels slightly removed from its precedent release as Gärdefors combines an atmospheric cloud of post-black atmosphere with some Dissection emotiveness, Nick Cave-esque doses of organ and piano flourishes (think Cave‘s movie soundtrack career), acoustic guitar interludes, and vocals on the desperate side of the blackened barbed-wire fence (akin to Niklas Kvarforth). In a forty-minute time period Gärdefors delivers six tracks that embody a soothing, yet sinister journey into impenetrable darkness.

The aforementioned organs haunt tracks like opener “Aftonlandet,” “Svältorna,” the instrumental “Slutet hav,” and closer “Eremiten Esaias.” The atmosphere created by this instrument is the very essence that breathes life into the lungs of Syner. Though “Slutet hav” is very similar to what the band did on the Frya Elegier track, “Bortgång,” it’s a beautiful album interlude that puts me in a state of amity that I can’t quite explain. “Aftonlandet,” one the other hand, uses the organ to build the song from a mere intro into a heavy coating of ambient black-metal riffage that transitions seamlessly into a gentle acoustic section with the same medicinal benefits as Flexeril. Much like the opener, the closer utilizes a significant amount of pure blackened emotion that accelerates the song – and the album – at the very moment the headlamps extinguish; enshrouding our road in complete darkness and guiding the wheel with captivating leads and the twangy conclusions of a self-induced repose.

Grift Syner 02For how great the closer is, the highlight of the album for me has to be “Undergörare.” Utilizing the melodies of old-school Dissection and Gorgoroth, “Undergörare” seems fairly standard through its first half before it builds and erupts into a climax ever exaggerated by orgasmic ambiance and Ihsahn-like clean vocals. Yet another Song ‘o the Year contender. Similarly, “Svältorna” is a top-notch piece that’s further strengthened by the video released for it (see below). Between the visual art, the emotive tremolos, and the organ/piano contributions, “Svältorna” stands out as one of the more accessible tracks and good representation of what Syner is all about.

Production-wise, there’s breathing room in the end-product and the minimized compression allows for a highly enjoyable listen. While maintaining the core sound of the band, Syner introduces new emotions that give it a uniqueness and free-flowing attitude the older material lacked. As long as Gärdefors continues to explore this darkened path, I will be riding along with it and anxiously waiting for more (regardless if what I am waiting for is a “grift” or the “grift”).

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Nordvis Produktion
Releases Worldwide: September 15th, 2015

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  • Feytalist

    Oh yeah, Grift. I caught the pre-release tracks on Bandcamp, and quite liked what I heard. It’s currently on my Needs Some Closer Attention list.

    I admit I’ve got a bit of a metal stiffy for this kind of music, but regardless this sounds like a pretty good example of the genre. I like the vocals especially, from what I’ve heard.

    Pretty evocative first paragraph there, too!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, I thought I’d be evocative today. Needs closer attention is required with this one.

    • The vocals were the only thing I DIDN’T like.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Off topic but there’s a new Panopticon album coming out at the end of the month…this year is killing me!
    I’m impressed that Lunn could back up so quickly after two epically excellent releases last year.
    I presume you would’ve got a copy to review?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, Lunn is pretty damn impressive. Not sure who will get the Panopticon promo but my claws are sharpened.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Yes I think you’ll have some competition, I’m pretty sure Grymm and Hell K will be interested. Madam X could well pull rank.
        Maybe AMG can stream a cage fight for the honour!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          There will definitely be a brawl. Most of the staff actually finds Panopticon to be something special. Regardless, I’m sure I will find myself in trouble and being punished by the nightmare that is AMG HR.

        • Oh I’m definitely interested. But I defer to seniority and all around writing superiority. Unless there are foldable chairs involved. I become Jason Fucking Statham wielding a folding chair.

          • Hulksteraus

            Or do you become STRONGBAD!! ?? (you need to watch Strongbad, best internet cartoon!!)

          • I will, sounds right up my alley.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          We humble readers don’t ask for much, typically we’re easily satisfied check by the semi regular RotM posts…but every now and then we need a good old fashioned vicious bloodletting…
          cage fight, cage fight, cage fight!!!

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I haven’t participated in a cage match in years… Get the thumb tacks!!!!

    • Feytalist

      Hell yeah. I’m always interested in what Lunn cooks up. I’m pretty impressed by his proliferance, too. Here’s hoping he can keep up the quality.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Looks like it’ll be one to get a physical copy if possible the packaging from what I’ve read includes photos and stories by Lunn

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Wait until you see the package that comes with the Bloodway release… Oh, and the review…

    • Monsterth Goatom

      First I heard of a new Panopticon. Very excited! Roads to the North was so original, and I didn’t even mind the “some guy trudging through the snow” interludes.

    • Andy_0

      Release date is October 16, unfortunately.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        The anticipation is golden!

    • Meriyas

      I only found out about Autumn Eternal the other day and I was left ridiculously excited. Can’t wait for the review to go up on here!

  • Kronos

    “Grift” just makes me think of that 6th season Community episode, “Grifting 101.” What a great episode. Great review, too.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh Community… And thank you sir.

    • Señor Chang is the best mexican on TV. There, I said it.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    So Dr. A.N. Grier, when you talk about your better half do you mean you have a split personality?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Mr. H.A. Ppier. He’s annoyingly chipper.

      Also, the first “p” is silent.

      • Hulksteraus

        Ahh, Pterry Pratchett Fan eh?

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Oh yeah. That’s me.

    • He talks to his stethoscope….

      • Dr. Scorpion

        It’s ‘Mr.’ not ‘Dr.’. Mr.Druhm being jorntastic as ever :P

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I blame myself for all this “Dr.” shit. It is really getting out of hand…

          • You’re the one to blame for all this “Dynamic Range” nonsense too?Do your crimes have no end???

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Am I??? How the hell did I do that??

          • Dr. Scorpion

            ” “Dr.” shit.”.I think we have an in-house proctologists for that. He is currently showing that andrew guy what his dentine coated fists are capable of.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier


          • [not a Dr]

            Out of fist.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Good point. It is actually the “Fist” that is the problem.

        • Technically I’m a doctor too as I have a Juris Doctorate.

          • Dr. Scorpion

            My bad. Sorry Docor Cheese Gorilla Monster.

          • [not a Dr]

            It was hidden in plain sight…
            “Steel” Dr. Uhm…

  • I’m listening to the track and I’m like… Barzum? And then I read your intro paragraph and I’m like… Helmet? Somehow you got me to think of Driving Nowhere. God, it’s been 18 years. Good job dude. Good job.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I hear Burzum in their last release (not this one). And everything else you hear/feel is a scary reminiscence I somehow conjured in your twisted mind. So, I’m sorry and you’re welcome. :)

      • Confront the daily setbacks
        All the lows and highs
        With anesthetic means I’m fit to socialize
        I’m driving nowhere fast
        Accelerate to pass
        Now I’ve got time to kill at last
        Bombin’ hometowns
        I can watch it free from harm
        United Arab Emirates still keep the gas in my car
        I’m driving nowhere fast
        Accelerate to pass
        Now I’ve got time to kill at last
        Keep the gas in my car, let me go far
        I’m driving nowhere fast, accelerate to pass
        Now I’ve got time to kill at last

        • Dr. A.N. Grier


          • haha I can only hope this eats away at you until you listen to it so that my revenge is complete.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I’m sure I’ll listen to it… You vengeful bastard!!!!

          • hahahahaha oh my goodness ok. So here we are 2015 and wikipedia has a page for Helmet naturally and check out this amazing quote from Page Hamilton:

            “it’s frustrating that people write [us] off because we’re affiliated
            with or credited with or discredited with creating nu-metal and rap
            metal or whatever the fuck it is, which we sound nothing like.”

            Just. Just let that sink in. Oh yeah.

            Man I’m no longer a Page Hamilton fan but that sucks. haha. man. What a world. You write a few lame songs and people blame you for Limp Bizkit.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Wait… I thought “Page Hamilton” was the pen name of Fred Durst…

  • Wilhelm

    Man, I hate those DSBM vocals, I just cannot take anything serious that has those whiny shrieky vocals. I liked the music too – what a shame.

  • You wot m8?

    I’m really, really liking this actually… But then again, I am generally a fan of anything that falls into a “post-” genre. More or less.

  • pfk505

    This album is fantastic, really enjoying it a lot. Among my favourites from a year that has been chock full of them.