Some band names are just spot on and this is a good example for that. The Great Cold invoke frigid spaces but also expansive ones, a toundra which stretches into the horizon, filling your vision with white. Fittingly enough, their music is an instrumental blend of black metal, post metal and progressive metal, creating swirls of snow in a blizzard of violence and music. Their music has the staple of all great instrumental works: while a single common thread runs through it all, in this case the interaction between guitars and drums that eludes specific genre definition, it utilizes enough variety to keep the listener hooked. Thus, we are lost in the great beauty of the ice-plains but we also have landmarks to help us navigate.
Consider “Aurai” from their eponymous, debut release. It beings with furious, breakneck blast beats over tremolo picking (make extra sure to note the exceptional cymbal work). However, instead of continuing down that line and turning the track into an abrasive and completely monotone creation, they quickly introduced a brightly strummed riff which later feeds into an entire melodic segment. Once again, instead of maintaining the same tack, they return to their explosive beginnings.
Slowly, these back and forths build up, creating crescendo in a deceptive and smart way so that we won’t know exactly when the peak arrives. When it does, it progressively contains both the fast and slow elements of the music, creating a great hybrid between the black and post metal elements we mentioned when we started. The rest of the album is filled with explorations of these ideas, whether choosing to channel more ambiance or more violence. Closer “Nephelai” is worth mentioning in this regard, as it contains a stunning intro that leads beautifully into another emotional and heavy middle section. Its outro is a perfect ending to the album, including sweeps that transcend it into the heaviest passage on the album.
In short, The Great Cold are a worthy addition to the list of good things happening within instrumental post metal, alongside bands like Tempel and Telepathy. The fact that they came from left field, completely unannounced into our email inbox, makes us even happier. It shows that there are plenty of fresh, interesting and talented voices out there, working away at creating great music. All we have to do is reach out to them and look.