Interesting songwriting, in English and Norwegian. The melodies are great for a black/pagan/folk metal album. The first song begins with very black metal guitars, Mörk Gryning style. Then they remind me more of Old Man’s Child for some reason. ‘Fall of Man’ has 2 great rhythmical breaks, and some clean male chanting, which gives the track a lot of variety. ‘Transcendental Journey’ begins with an intro that evokes Mortiis having a LARP party with Finntroll, especially pre-Jaktens Tid period. I think it’s the keyboards. They’re jumpy and jolly and then the song breaks into some almost Kovenant style vocals for a second before continuing into an almost overall Limbonic Art-like track. That’s what the atmosphere of the track brings to mind. Some simple yet pleasant riffs are packed in there too… There’s an interesting keyboard section in track 3, and track 4 comprises some nice melodies and good breaks. Not so sure about the keyboards on that song though…
As for the production, I’ve heard better but also a lot worse. No big cracks or snuffed instruments, but the vocals are sort of not in the right place, but maybe that’s a matter of taste… We’re talking black metal, let’s not forget. Very black metal guitars, the quick back and forth picking so typical in Mörk Gryning and a lot of precursors of black metal is present there, but the riffs are quite simple although there are nice breaks and interesting rhythm changes and nice melodies and some clear guitars too. Good vocals, but I’m not so sure about the production. i‘m very happy with the male choir/chanting/choir every now and then, which could be a little more dense in my opinion, ie include more guys chanting together. The balance would be smoother. Regarding the drums, not too bad I must say, there are some interesting rhythm changes, more than in standard black metal. Sometimes fast, sometimes pow-tchack, quite generally alright. There are very interesting keyboards on here, very Finntrollesque and even Mortiis-like at times, the keyboards are well balanced on this record and that’s not so frequent in folk metal bands. That’s a pleasant surprise.
Half in the record is in English and I think the rest is Norwegian. (yes I have the lyrics, I’m not just guessing by the sound of the gurgles) Themes are more or less esoteric, always dark, almost gothic, despair, disappearing, eternity, you know the drill.
The cover art is simple yet effective and very grim and black metal. A black and gray (no, not black and white, it’s all in grayscale) photograph of a building on a lake. Not the record you’d immediately notice on the stack. Very dark and dejà-vu. But the logo? What logo? You call German Gothic font a logo? And about the booklet, it exists, and I only have the promo version, this is a rare delicacy, having a full booklet in a promo version. It’s not very exciting, there’s no artwork in there, but there are full lyrics, I appreciate that.
Overall I give this a 7.5 because although this is a style that I will like no matter what, objectively, there is also more impressive and catchy in the genre. But this is more elaborate than standard black metal, so you can definitely give it a go. And guys from Windir are in there, I know it’s not an objective comment, but that also means that it’s going to be decent. No make that 7.5 an 8, this demo deserves encouragement. A great deal of effort has been put into it. I find new things every time I play the record.
Cover Art: 5