January 14, 2020

Hermoðr - Forest Sky

By Master of Muppets. The sound of winter is more than a Bush song. It is a living silence, a sentient storm and a shimmering array of frozen colors; it's far beyond my abilities to properly describe the sounds of the snowiest season, but I know it when I hear it.
By Master of Muppets.


The sound of winter is more than a Bush song. It is a living silence, a sentient storm and a shimmering array of frozen colors; it's far beyond my abilities to properly describe the sounds of the snowiest season, but I know it when I hear it. Simply put, Hermoðr's Forest Sky sounds like winter. It's cold, beautiful and utterly unforgiving, and it's about time you learned to appreciate it.

A solo project created by the one-man Swedish army, Rafn, Hermoðr boasts an impressive discography, something to the tune of 40+ releases. Many of these are longform singles or EP's, but the key takeaway here is that if/when you fall in love with Hermoðr, there's a lot of material available on Bandcamp for further exploration - and it's all dirt cheap. I envy anyone just beginning their love affair with Hermoðr; you've a long and lovely ride ahead of you and it's hardly going to break your bank.

The particular offering being discussed today is a 10 track adventure, fueled by a poignant and potent blend of tender melancholy and raw black fury - or is it perhaps a mixture of violent sadness and gentle rage? "Winter Storm", for example, is as mournful as it is menacing, while "My Reflection in the Ice" feels like an ode to wandering off and dying alone in the snowclad wilderness; With a mix as raw as the flayed heart on its sleeve, Forest Sky is as emotionally evocative as atmoblack gets, and (surprise, surprise) none of it is immediately or overly positive.

Stylistically speaking, Hermoðr haunt a particularly harrowing patch of tonal turf directly adjacent to Woods of Desolation. Fraught with tremolo picking and harsh shrieks, the songs stay true to the rough aesthetic of DSBM, yet by and large Forest Sky is a very melodic ordeal. Delicately dour atmospheres are often brought to life by fragile clean guitar passages, and even the most aggressive moments are soaked in the tears of minor scales. Essentially, Forest Sky is what one might expect to hear if Winterfylleth were perpetually depressed and putting their best, saddest foot forward.

Hermoðr is nothing less than a goldmine of raw black goodness, and Forest Sky is a gem in its own right, one that belongs in the hearts and musical libraries of every fan of melancholic black metal. One could get lost for days in Rafn's woeful wonderland, and listeners are encouraged to do so immediately; tons of top-notch tunes at bottom-dollar prices are what you'll find, and if you're into that sort of thing in general and depressive atmoblack in particular, you're in for a tearfully tasty treat.

4 comments:
  1. Nice review man been meaning to check this out. I read your stuff over at AMG as well. I have to ask - how do you keep up with reviews over here and on AMG? It's impressive.

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  2. I keep up mostly by not keeping up :P I can barely meet any AMG deadlines at the moment, reviews here are easier to churn out since I only write about albums I already know and love but that also requires free time and I don't think such exists. The short answer: I have no idea, yo, my world is a blur lately.

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    1. Well we appreciate you. Just take care of yourself man and don't burn out. We'd miss the yo's, yo.

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    2. Funnily enough, I just yesterday told the AMG staff that I'm stepping back for a bit for that very reason. I've got a lot going on in my little world at the moment and trying to keep up with their schedule has been both stressing me out and leaving me depressed as I keep failing to do so. I'll still be working on YMiO's, playlist things (whenever we get back to those) and the occasional proper review, but for the most part I won't be contributing much for a while - there, anyway. Here we write about albums we already know and aren't bound to a release date dictates schedule, so I'll be able to keep myself sane/you goons informed with reviews here in the meantime.
      I appreciate the readership and consideration, yo. Here's to another year of words about metal, I'll do my best to give you lot only the best.

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