Everyone in Norway looks like this on the weekends.
  • Courtesy the artist
  • Everyone in Norway looks like this on the weekends.

Norwegian black-metal veterans Khold released their sixth full-length, Til Endes, on Peaceville Records in September. The album didn’t get a lot of love around here at the time, but its moment has finally arrived. I mean, if you’re looking for a belated excuse to write about a band called Khold, you can’t do better than this weather.

The title track, “Til Endes,” has a simple midtempo stomp and a bit of swagger in its catchy, swinging triple-feel riffs—outside the norm for black metal, at least if you still consider it the realm of blastbeats and tremolo picking. The song’s video, alas, is pretty corny and tired. Though I suppose you could spin the “pretending to play in the woods” footage as an homage to the dozens if not hundreds of bands that have already flogged that trope.

Likewise the video’s euphemistic suggestion of the pursuit and murder of a generic and largely faceless woman (we never see her implied attacker) is bottom-drawer slasher-movie stuff. I’m a little disappointed to see such blandly misogynistic nonsense here, especially given that all of Khold’s lyrics are written by unofficial fifth member Hildr, aka Hilde Nymoen, the wife of front man Sverre Stokland (who performs in Khold under the name Gard). To be fair, I don’t know what any of the words in “Til Endes” mean, and I suppose they could put a subversive spin on the worn-out imagery.

Those self-serious scowls, though? I don’t feel like excusing them, even with a hypothetical. I guess I have a hard time reconciling the supposed misanthropy of black metal with an apparent desire to pose in front of a camera.

Drummer Sarke gets a pass for making great rock faces when he plays, though. Plus I enjoy the way Gard’s corpsepaint makes him look like an angry, decaying fungus. And guitarist Rinn wins the video with his burning headstock, because how many times did they have to relight that between takes? The best part is how the director treats it like it’s no big deal, never lingering on the flames or foregrounding them. You get the idea that Rinn’s guitar just comes out of its case on fire, and nobody bats an eye anymore.

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Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. You can also follow him on Twitter.