Sunday, May 12, 2013
Arckanum : " Fenris Kindir"
This is the 8th album by this black metal project whom for some reason I just caught onto the fact this is a one-man show master minded by Shaamatae, who handles every instrument in a manner that makes this project seem like a cohesive unit playing off of one another. He has been at it since 92, so he certainly has had time to perfect his craft.
His subject matter has been Gnostic chaos, a subject he had even written a book on, so this isn't a Slayer gimmick. The lyrical content of this album which is penned in old tongue Norse , focuses more on wolves , particularly were-wolves as a metaphor for his metaphysical exploration.But unless you are fluent in this tongue then it's pretty much a mute point.
The wall of noise the album opens with is the title track that is an intro for "Tungls Tjugari" That starts very drum driven with a tightly palm muted riff coiled around it. Their is more restraint on this album and focus on song which will lend it self to Watain comparisons would I would argue this is far from being a sell out. The bass can actually be heard, the vocal layers are also a strong point as far as production goes. He has a dry rasp more than a black metal shriek so think Bathory. The arrangements are particularly thoughtful rather than the formulaic drone most bands of this ilk seem to take on. The grit on the guitar also makes this album stand out as it gives the records a very characteristic sound.
The grunted chant leads off "Dolgrin" it,s a brisk mid pace for black metal I suppose where its upbeat but not blasty ,though there are moments for that and I think those are where this project is really excelling, but the thrashier leanings closer to what Darkthrone is doing these days. If you want boring color by numbers , heard it all before black metal then you are looking in the wrong place and might not even feel this is legit for church burning.
The thrash influence even feels more apparent on "Hatarnir". This song remains raw , but has some gallop and groove to it. The lower growl layered on this on is pretty nasty and mean as are the punches that come at the midway point. The weird vocals which fade in from the t.v Carol Ann got sucked into during Poltergeist are a cool parlor trick, and I think it is this song where the album takes a turn into some really cool new shit. Things get creepy on 'Hamrami" some elements which might make you want to say pagan metal begin to surface but for the love of all that is chaos don't call this project that, though this is more of an interlude to the album as a whole than an individual song with metal riffs and such.
Another wolf song "Fenris gangr" follows, its pretty raw and dense piece of work, the blasties lay back under everything. They way the drums tie it all together is pretty thundering. The guitar sound will pretty much lacerate you like handling rusty razor blades. Sounds from a ritual of some kinds were wolf majick is going down at the start of "Vargold" and it's a formula fatal to the flesh here for him to throw in a spooky interlude thing for every song they have. This leads into "Angrboa" a very ripping Watain like ditty, with its fair share of the roots based in punk. the witch vocals chime in after the first minute. They do kinda bang the main riff into the ground in the firs two minutes of this song, so the tempo change here is very welcomed as the song lecherously creeps off into the shadows.
"Uskepna" begins with more monster factory noises. but the verse riff really slams into things. The ughs... punch in the right spots and the drums fill in the gaps. This one slows into almost a dirty sludge tempo. The guitars get a little muddy in the rawness but this clears up by the time we go into the b -section like riff. It does carry over into a pretty epic galloping riff. "Spell" turns back the clock a little in terms of raw thrash like stuff being cranked out, in the slower moments the Celtic Frost influence can be felt though things are generally more abrasive. 'Sobols Sigr" is another interlude more string oriented and medieval in tone before going into a cover of Necromantia's "Lycanthropia" which fits in well with the rest of the album.
Overall the album is a little heavy on the interlude bits which could have been worked into the songs more though the do provide some melodic balance to the over all rawness of the album. I will go ahead and give this one an 8.5 as I have enjoyed the repeated listens I have given this one and can see this album continuing to grow on me, as far as the one man metal show goes this project has set the standard for being able to achieve a raw organic better than other such studio projects .