Fjoergyn – Sade et Masoch – 4.5/5
Take a healthy dollop of Agalloch’s epic tone, a shot of a German-inspired riffing and a splash of Moonsorrow’s use of Viking imagery and you get some way to understanding the sound this band has succeeded in producing. Not one to shy away from soft piano sequences, the range of tones and atmospheres produced will leave in an enchanting dream world, before bringing you crashing down to earth in what seems like a far harsher reality, filled with evil and despair.
Everything present in this album is done to an impossibly high standard, each track seemingly meandering into one another, to produce a constant flow of addictive riffs and folk tones that has you wondering whether to nod your head or simply sit back and relax. Even on the lengthier tracks, it fails at any point to feel unnecessary or repetitive, keyboards often used in a similar style as ‘Equilibrium’, providing tone over the main body of the work, and adding sections of melancholy between passages, serving to keep things refreshing.
The guitar work is inventive, and anything but unoriginal, acting as more than simple filler, often sustaining the tone in an interesting manner as they supply simplistic deep riffs to draw you in. The vocals are worked wonderfully, frequently displaying an aggressive gravely tone, best described is ‘clean’ death growls perfectly fitting with the Viking atmosphere, but often varying between clean vocals, whispers, and other styles to add variation.
But what is superbly done here, beyond any individual contribution is the standard of composition, presenting an array of layers and tones to sustain repeated listens, and frequent rhythm changes between levels of aggression seamlessly worked into the main body of the song. Retaining a similar tone, you could listen to any individual member and notice his time to shine, despite it being all to easy to sit back and enjoy the clever manner in which they are all integrated to form a coherent sound, none drawing too much focus so as to dominate. Real credit must be given to those responsible for the production of this album, who have succeeded in retaining an earthy tone, whilst yielding a high level of clarity for every instrument present.
Once again we have an album that I believe deserves more credit than they receive. Despite the lack of ‘folk’ instruments, which is usually something of a turn off for me, they have successfully embodied a sound and created a work as unique as it is intriguing. This one no fan of folk metal should miss.
Highlights: Prolog, Katharsis, Sade
By T. Bawden