Kólga is the raw atmospheric black metal band featuring members of Panopticon and Seidr, who recently released this, their first demo, on a very limited run of 50 CDrs, which unsurprisingly sold out quite rapidly. Released by The Flenser and Lundr Records, the former also offers the demo for free download via their bandcamp.
The demo consists of three lengthy tracks. The production is, as one would expect, steeped in the mire with a coarse guitar tone and vocals submerged deep in the mix. The raw sound serves the overall delivery of the demo quite well; demonstrated by Seidr’s Jack Hannert and his deathly screeches and howls. Meanwhile, Austin Lunn gifts this demo with dashes of beautifully implemented clean vocals that complement the wounded shrieks that dominate the demo, vocally. He has spent years crafting a reputation for himself for poignant and melancholic atmospheric black metal under the guise of Panopticon and he certainly brings that element to the forefront in Kólga.
‘Fires on the Shoreline’ instigates with a haze of distortion and a wash of ambient atmospherics gleaned over it. The melancholic vibe is dripping with desolation and despair, a theme that repeats all throughout this demo and it’s all accentuated by the distant pained shrieks all buried beneath the morass, crafting a feeling of hopelessness.
‘Out of the Wood’ then strangely combats the despondency prior with affecting clean guitar work. Meanwhile, ‘Sky Wheel’ utilises the hypnotic clean vocals to superb effect once again, after the heaving intro of near catchy riffs. Like the distant howls, they complement the desperate, emotive feel of the demo without ever dampening the raw aggression of the pummelling drums.
Kólga’s demo is such seething hail of discord for the most parts that’s opposed several times by moments of eerie, creepy melody. This dichotomy is what makes Kólga so utterly enthralling and even menacing, and whatever they have planned, album wise, couldn’t come around sooner.