Saturday, 9 October 2010

[ALBUM REVIEW] Godless North - Fimbulvetr

Disc 1
1. Intro 01:39
2. Glory of the Past Returns 06:17
3. Dark Skies over Vinland 05:56
4. Under the Veil of the Night 07:23
5. Winter of Cleansing 07:16
6. Upon Heathen Battlefields 06:16
7. Dawn of a New Empire 07:50
8. Wisdom of the Ancient Cults 08:53
9. ...The Wolf Unleashed (Outro) 00:47
Disc 2
1. Intro 01:33
2. The Fading Cause of Light's Crusade 03:55
3. Sombre Reflections of Hate's Crusade 07:44
4. Carnage on Holy Soil 04:26
5. In Mourning for the Night 02:54
6. Dunkelheit (Burzum cover) 07:36
7. Intro 00:51
8. Northern Hordes 04:16
9. Wolf's Kin 04:02
10. Everlasting Winter Winds 03:32
11. Warmoon (Outro) 03:47

Fimbulvetr is the re-release of Godless North's debut album Summon the Age of Supremacy and a compilation of the band's demo material and split work. Basically it's a retrospective look at all the bands work prior to the hiatus in 2003, and at the same time a marker for the beginning of the new line-up. My only previous experience with Godless North lies with the split with French band Chemin de Haine, which was unabashed Darkthrone worship. Luckily for them, I happen to like a bit of decent Darkthrone worship every now and again.

The overall sound of Summon the Age of Supremacy could be comparable to a continual blast of needle sharp gales. It's extremely piercing, but not in an discomforting way. The guitar work is standard fair, high velocity tremolo riffing with a thin razor edged tone, and together with the barbed-wire, echoed vocals and chaotic drumming it equates to one thing. Pure old school Black Metal carnage. There isn't a whole heap of variation though, and after repeating listenings it can end up becoming derivative, as do most Darkthrone clones. The drumming is excessively repetitive though, continuous blasting only ever interrupted every once in a while by a short fill before falling back into the blasting. Coming to a band like this though and looking for originality and innovation is ignorance though. It's what you would call 'cult black metal', and doesn't try to be anything else.

The second disk is a bit of a duck shoot really, the tracks off the split with Chemin de Haine are similar enough to the album tracks apart from the atmosphere being a bit more suppressed and the drumming is a lot more professional and varied. 'Mourning for the Night' is from the Black Metal Endsieg II split, and shows a more premature form of the band we saw on Summon the Age of Supremacy, the drumming is hollow and sloppy, and lacks the icy atmosphere of the full length, and sounds like it was recorded in a biscuit tin. The same applies for the demo tracks at the end of the disc, with the horribly wet and weak guitar tone and nigh inaudible drumming. All this is forgiveable though as it was demo material and the band were just finding their feet. Hell, they adore the old school so much they even included a cover of 'Dunkelheit', which isn't bad but doesn't really hold a candle to the original.

Summon the Age of Supremacy is good for what it is, it's highly satisfying reverence of the genres progenitors, simple raw black metal going for that glacial atmosphere, and it succeeds in that. It does get old after repeated listenings though, and this is it's main downfall, It has limited replay value and lacks depth to a certain extent. When you've heard one track you might as well have heard them all, and thats where the old guard could work so well, their variation throughout the albums. The second disk is really hit and miss, but if you're a fan, and haven't got the rest of the bands material then Fimbulvetr is definitely worth the money. It's not reinventing the wheel, but it is enjoyable cold and abrasive black metal.

Originally written for Metalcrypt



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