Now that winter is fast approaching, blacken your holiday season with Grim Christmas, a one-man black metal project helmed by Colorado multi-instrumentalist Jon Lervold.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Lervold at Big Name Recording Studio, Grim Christmas is a 15-minute excursion transforming 10 classic holiday songs into minor keys to create frosty, archaic hymns in the context of blistering black metal.
On Lervold's personal website, he gave his own account of wanting record a trve Christmas album:
Just over five years ago, while walking on the beach on a gloomy November day in Aberdeen, I had a thought: “What would Christmas carols sound like if they were turned into black metal?”
It was just a passing idea. I think the possibilities of playing around in that style were on my mind because I had just finished recording A God or an Other’s debut album, Towers of Silence, which heavily drew from the black metal lexicon.
For whatever reason, the idea for this album really stuck with me. I knew I had to make it.
In order to get the most out of his idea, he decided to rewrite carols from the public domain which includes all music written before 1923.
I picked public domain songs purely for legal reasons, as I would like to be able to use these in any way that I may see fit in the future.
In order for a song to be picked, it had to be originally written in a major key, as it would not be as dramatic or as fun of a transformation to do a song that was originally composed in a minor key. I really wanted to play around with some of the more exotic minor scales instead of exclusively using aeolian mode. It was fun to utilize sounds like Neapolitan minor and harmonic minor and to build some four part harmonies with them.
The last qualification for picking songs is difficult to explain. They had to make me feel some sort of… resonance… within myself. This has to do with the history of my early life. I’m not a Christian, but I was raised Catholic, and that upbringing had quite an impact on me. I heard these songs so many times in mass over the years. It is enjoyable for me to hear these representations of that part of my life turned around into something that is now meaningful to me in a new and very different way.
To read more of Lervold's behind the scenes process and back story, you can visit his website here. The Grim Christmas EP is currently available for free download via Bandcamp or you can cop a $5 cassette here.