By Steven Leslie. While Germany has a long history in the black metal world, they have often played second fiddle to their northern brothers in arms. If there is any justice in this world, bands like Fyrnask will start to change that perception.By Steven Leslie.
|Artwork by Glyn Smyth|
While Germany has a long history in the black metal world, they have often played second fiddle to their northern brothers in arms. If there is any justice in this world, bands like Fyrnask will start to change that perception. While Fyrnask’s previous two records have been excellent, the newest manifestation from sole creator Fyrnd is the band’s masterpiece. Fórn is a record that demands your full attention across it’s 54 minute run time. It is not an album of individual songs, instead it is a spiritual and ritual journey divided into 11 compelling parts designed to be listened to has a whole.
Fyrnd is the shaman opening up the arcane and esoteric nature of the world and guiding you through this spiritual expedition. While many of the more atmospheric black metal bands and albums require a certain mood to truly appreciate them, Fórn inherently creates that mood by itself. It is this very ability to control and direct the listener’s emotional response that indicates just how special and powerful this album is. Expertly weaving meditative, ritualistic movements with searing black metal assaults, Fyrnd displays his compositional brilliance by ensuring that not a second of the album is wasted. There is no part of this record that could be cut or embellished upon to make it more impactful. Each trance inducing candlelit ambient instrumental and every ferocious metallic outburst is made more powerful by their deft juxtaposition and intuitive flow. There is an elegance to the songwriting and overall performance that really sets Fyrnask apart from other modern black metal bands.
While the musical compositions are spectacular throughout, Fyrnd’s vocal performance deserves special mention. From the more traditional spiteful black metal roar to ritualistic chants, stirring shouts and haunting whispers, each vocal line is handled with exceptional care. It is rare to find a vocalist who sounds as powerful and effective across all these various styles of vocal delivery. Even more rare is Fyrnd’s ability to understand exactly what type of vocal each section of a song needs to make it transcendent.
This is an album that you will want to invest some time in and in turn will reward you for the effort. Each listen brings new elements to the fore, not because the album is so dense and layered, but because its individual ingredients are so expertly crafted and performed that your focus can shift without the album losing any of its potency. It is pointless to try to analyze individual tracks, as the whole is so much more powerful than its component parts. That is not to say that tracks like "Blótan", which show that for all the album’s focus on atmosphere and ritualistic instrumentals, they can still stand toe to toe with any of the more traditional second-wave worshiping modern black metal bands. But taking the album as a whole allows for the introspective and alchemical nature of Fyrnd’s creation to truly take hold. If you are looking for unrelenting, tremolo-picked blast of fire and brimstone, look elsewhere, but if you are looking for something more personal and introspective, Fórn may well be your black metal album of the year.