Ereb Altor

The End

Written by: EW on 21/03/2010 10:11:17

Bearing all the qualities that allows a band to be blessed with the word 'cult' in this day and age is Swedish epic Viking/doomsters Ereb Altor. Cult (or 'kvlt' depending on how metal you wish to be) not only because "The End" is just their 2nd LP since initial formation back in 1990, not only that the main protagonists hail from the highly under-rated Isole, nor too that their sound is steeped in "Hammerheart"-era Bathory, but that on top of all this we have here one album of music passionate and epic enough to deserve the use of this hallowed word. Incase you'd forgotten or simply spent 2009 living under a rock, Isole's "Silent Ruins" was one of last year's best doom metal albums and so sensing that this side-project could be just as good (not forgetting the genre tag of 'epic Viking/doom' did make me simultaneously faint and ejaculate with excitement) I gleefully took on the challenge of meeting the grandiose "The End".

Put it this way, if you worship at the altar of Viking-era Bathory, like I, then "The End" is going to please you as much as a talentless breakdown does a karate-moshing retard. Songs like "Myrding", "Vargavinter (The End Part I)" and "The Final War (The End Part III)" plod along at their own casual pace, stopping by to tick the boxes of 'crushing', 'dramatic' and 'proud' on their way to the creation of an album that could hardly be less fashionable despite having one foot in the Viking metal camp. With a vocal performance from Ragnar (Daniel Bryntse) which becomes increasingly Quorthon-like during the album's 48 minutes Ereb Altor makes no bones about who their main influence is. In this sense plagiarism can be a good thing when the sound being utilised is one that has not been done to death since it was first conceived; with so few honing the melancholic brassy guitar sound that defined Bathory's '2nd period' anyone who does it this well is going to be appreciated, by me at least. Passionate lead and backing vocals, gentle yet strikingly profound synth accompaniment and monotonous drums (in a good way) all go into the making of the album's best track "Myrding", showcasing how content the band are to play music straight from the heart in strong defiance of the need to be the heaviest, fastest, slowest or most technical outfit out there.

Given the true doom feel, naturally derived from Isole yet also bearing resemblances to The Puritan and Reverend Bizarre, some of the potential Viking/pagan metal crowd may be turned off, shocked at the absence of blastbeats, riffing speed or screaming. But let this be a lesson in history: all things Viking were birthed from this sound, and on the basis of "The End" they are continuing, albeit slowly, in a very natural and interesting direction. I don't see Ereb Altor setting the scene alight with this release but it is reassuring to possess something this solid and metal where you can be convinced every effort behind it has been done in the furtherance of this timeless craft, and one God in particular, Quorthon of Bathory.

Download: Myrding, Vargavinter (The End Part I)
For The Fans Of: Bathory, Isole, The Puritan, Reverend Bizarre
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 26.03.2010
Napalm Records

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