CD, Ant-Zen, 2009
This is the third full-length album from this Icelandic two-men band, and unlike their previous opuses, which were more industrial/power electronics/tribal percussions-oriented, this record more fits into the dark ambient/ambient noise genres, tough it also holds some meditative guitar sounds which generate a kind of post-rock/krautrock feeling, which is pretty original in this music style, but sounds perfectly coherent here. Their music still contains vocals, but they’re less screamed and distorted than before, more in a spoken words style.
As the first track’s title suggests, Gjöll’s leitmotiv is natural anarchism. They advocate the defense of the natural world and animals’ rights against mankind’s threat and supremacy, and recommend listeners to draw inspiration from animals’ social structures and ways of living. Dark without being too pessimistic, their lyrics speak to each one of us who deplores the way the world turns and believes things can still be improved. The ephemeral and cyclical nature of life (“Unity with the Earthworms”) and the insignificance of the human beings, who see themselves as almighty, compared to the majesty of the natural world (“At the hanging of the last of the career politician”) are also subjects often evoked here. Besides, the atmospheres Gjöll create through their music have the same duality: on one hand they have the typical coldness of the dark ambient genre, those mournful climates and oppressive soundscapes, and on the other hand, these guitar parts which enlighten and warm up the whole thing from time to time.
This record is kind of a U.F.O. into this scene and into the Ant-Zen catalogue, and it truly deserves some interest. Iceland obviously holds some unique musical talents.
— Olivier Noel