(Avantgarde Music, 2014)
In this age of everyone copying some classic album or band (and dozens of bands ending up sounding alike), some bands whom are shamelessly inspired by some records of the past manage to sound fresh and original at the same time. This album is a good example of nineties Norwegian forest-worship, yet in this case the result sounds like Hornwood Fell.
In almost every aspect, this music sounds like coming straight from the nineties, with just enough of more modern and avantgarde touches here and there (to compositions, sounds and mixing) in order to give it a sound of its own kind.
The vocals are performed and mixed in the same dry shouting and screaming way like in Ulver’s “Bergtatt” and “Nattens Madrigal”, Borknagar’s first album, or Satyricon’s “Shadowthrone”. The guitars also bring to mind material like on those albums, sound-wise and riff-wise, but spiced with more original and experimental (in this case) playing and composition styles. The drums are bright in cymbals, hats and rides, and quite damp in snares and kicks, fitting the dry distortion of the guitars and vocals well. The tempos are pretty fast throughout the whole album, ranging from blasting to other typical styles, but never going totally slow. Sounds of walking in the woods (or similar) add to the atmosphere. Also some more acoustic parts and ethereal synths are heard here and there, not coming as a surprise but fitting the music well.
The amount of riffs per song is quite vast keeping the music versatile and interesting, and although the songs sound quite similar to one another, the album proceeds in a fascinating and captivating way.
This album is a must for every fan of the aforementioned Norse bands. And in the case you haven’t (for some reason) heard those albums of the nineties, you will most likely be even more positively surprised with this album. Just keep in mind where this music comes from.
I give my praise to Hornwood Fell for keeping the spirit of the nineties splendidly alive, yet upgrading it to modern (and in a bit different way artistic) times!
9/10 – Antti Mikonmäki