One man black metal projects are often the subject of mockery, but there is something pure about the vision in which many of these projects are created. Bands such as the infamous BURZUM or the legendary BATHORY. Refusing to comprise on their sound and staying true to the sound they believe their project should have. Aiming to join the ranks of these successful craftsmen are Germans FYRNASK whose sound takes heavily from the atmospheric side of the genre and for whom ritualistic practices and nature are the subjects of inspiration. With two well received releases already, how does the third effort Forn hold up?
Forbænir is an acoustic introduction track to the album, with heavy use of atmospheric synths to introduce the idea of the focus on nature and man’s connection with it. It’s a relaxing way to start the album, if a little long at nearly five minutes. Luckily second track Draugr wastes little time in getting into the black metal side of the equation. The track makes effective use of the contrast with its atmospheric passages, as expected from a band this dedicated to achieving that atmosphere.
Following on from the quiet ending is a slow beginning to Niðrdráttr that again seems to encourage listeners to appreciate the quiet before the storm. While the previous track continued with its black metal throughout, there is a more restrained use of those elements here and a heavy use of synths again. This continues into Vi er dømt which is another passage between the main songs laden with atmosphere. Agnis Offer cannot seem to decide which of the approaches displayed so far to take and combines both the black metal and atmospheric elements together to create something that while unique, is not necessarily particularly interesting. Urðmaðr again fills the void between songs with a ritualistic passage before an epic surge of trumpets announces Blótan. The track is more traditional than a lot of the rest of the album in its structure with a focus on the guitar riffs and vocals instead of the synths. The atmosphere takes on a more epic size for the track as well, a welcome change from elsewhere on the record, before fading out.
This is not continued onto Fornsngvar which instead reverts to type with chanting and bells ringing before Kenoma begins. After a slow start which listeners would forgive for not noticing the track change eventually gives way, the track continues FYRNASK’s attempt at writing black metal segments laden with atmosphere. The lack of belief in his own riffs lets sole member Fyrnd down here, as he could have easily left them to stand on their own with additional synths to muddy the sound. Havets Kjele, another synth track, closes the album off on a surprisingly upbeat note.
It should be made clear that this is a good album, the compositions and riffs on offer here are perfect for getting across what the vision of Fyrnd for the project is. The heavy use of synths will put some listeners off while others will appreciate the passages between tracks. However the presence of these synths during the black metal elements of the songs unfortunately detracts and weakens the overall composition. A good album, if somewhat flawed in its delivery.
Fórn is set for release on July 15th via Ván Records.
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