|Release Date||20 September 2019|
Ereb Altor are no stranger to viking metal. With eight albums since their 2008 debut, they’ve worked steadily to bring the best of true viking metal. Their latest album, Jartecken, is pretty much what you’d expect at this point, but that isn’t to say it isn’t something new, too; it continues down the same path as the past couple albums, delivering a dynamic mix of mournful folk melodies and vicious atmospheres.
Jartecken opens with building chants and cycles through floating clean vocal lines and ferocious growls over blast beats as it continues. While there are very intense sections even in the second track, ‘Queen of All Seas’, the album as a whole gets darker as it goes on. Needless to say, there’s a good mix of tracks, from the blackened-death metal of ‘Alliance in Blood’ to the thrashy ‘Prepare for War’ to the more epic ‘My Demon Inside’. The sense of impending darkness holds everything together, so there’s never a song or section that sounds out of place.
The guitars and synth function much the same in Jartecken, holding the foundation through ominous riffs and chords while the vocals and choirs pull the songs through the fog, so to speak. Well, that is of course with the exception of the guitar solos, which are in the foreground, as you’d expect. Behind it all are the drums, which are ever-changing with the overall mood.
My favourite aspect of Jartecken (and bands like Ereb Altor in general) is the fact that I can throw it on and get dialed into it almost instantly. There’s something about the overall dissonance of the music that just sucks me right in and flows around me like water. Sounds like pretentious bullshit, right? Well, despite being primarily a power metal guy, it’s that very aspect that has me coming back to records like this in the first place. It’s almost as if the album is just one big song, and that’s really cool.
All in all, this is a fantastic album. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it offers enough difference from other albums in the space that it’s got a leg up on the competition. If you like dark, doomy, folky darkness of folk doom, give Jartecken a spin.
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