Völuspá Part III: Fall of the Ages

Written by: EW on 14/05/2010 00:00:10

Black metal and it's many offshoots, continually churning out admirable releases week after week. Next in that line to be dissected: Fortid (or Fortíð as they would say) - an Icelandic (though Norwegian based) Viking-influenced band now on their album, "Völuspá Part III: Fall of the Ages" though totally new to my ears and eyes. The albums' cover suggests of a release epic in scale and ambition, an idea that is realised in the slow-build up through opener "Til Hinna Fornu Sala", where after 3-and-a-half minutes of warm atmospheric soundscapes the band crash in with a punishingly dark and commendable riff, reminding me in combination of Thyrfing and Jotunspor and naturally being very much the work of a band from the very northern reaches of Europe.

It is however track two where we really begin to find out what Fortid are about ("Austursins Heimsenda Her"). In many aspects Fortid are a relic of the early 90's Norwegian sound with a dark atmosphere, great natural drum sound and Ihsahn-like vocals, but their main separator comes in the form of the 'epicness' inherent within many of their riffs, lending the 'Viking' tag being slapped on the band. These riffs alone, pinching bits of Kampfar and Windir/Cor Scorpii (see "Heltekinn"), are not the finished article nor the ultimate example of just how 'epic' this style can go but the conviction with which Fortid have penned them is not exactly hidden. The 8-minute "Austursins Heimsenda Her" has the time for some of the best incorporated clean/chanting vocals I've heard in quite a while, which are followed up in "Ný Dögun" where they perch delicately on strumming acoustic guitar and a true epic metal feeling. "Heltekinn" reveals the band's tactic in alternating the slow and fast periods of music, which have allowed both room to breathe and offer the wares of their musical conviction, before closer "Framtíð" quickly becomes the album's most majestic track and shows the grit and drama that should be present in music of this kind - the virtues that a well-judged production can bring to a record heh? Despite being 10 minutes long, the grander elements of black/'Viking' metal shine throughout it's different stages, as the album draws to a close without any fireworks or extravagance; a modesty in keeping with how the whole album has been approached from the opening atmospherics right through to these closing, swirling riffs.

In this writer's opinion Windir are the ultimate benchmark for all things 'epic' and 'black', being that they so effortlessly crafted music than seems to transcend dimensions, and thus I feel Fortid are not unworthy of a review against them. "Framtíð" and "Heltekinn" offer riffs approaching Windir's levels of brilliance while the overall variation and atmosphere within "Voluspa Part III: Fall Of The Ages" sees them fall not much short of how majestic Viking/black metal can become in the genre's upper echelons. No doubt at the blacker end of the Viking metal scale, Fortid‘s third album is as powerful as the cover that adorns it and definitely comes with my recommendation to all fans of the original feelings at the heart of epically-inclined extreme metal.


Download: Framtíð, Heltekinn
For the fans of: Cor Scorpii, Enslaved, Thyrfing, Kampfar
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.03.2010
Schwarzdorn Productions

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