Hailing from Germany, GRABUNHOLD are ’90s black metal classicism incarnate. The quartet showed boundless promise with their first demo, Auf den Hügelgräberhöhen, in 2017, but it’s with their debut EP, Unter dem Banner der Toten, where GRABUNHOLD really come into their own – and quickly. Comprising three central black metal tracks and a solemn instrumental, this swift ‘n’ spellbinding short-length references a whole host of timeless influences – beyond the wandering moon, an arising realm upon a shadowthrone, dark waters stirring at the dawn of the dying sun – but processes them in such an undeniably Teutonic, swords-drawn way that’s wholly their own, and wholly refreshing. It’s medieval madness run riot, and it’s riotously compelling.
And before you know it, the 18 minutes of Unter dem Banner der Toten are over and you’re fully in GRABUNHOLD’s thrall, pressing “play” yet again. Most magickal, that: the past is forever alive, consuming the present like an ouroboros.