Arckanum: Fenris Kindir

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Arckanum: Fenris Kindir
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Arckanum: Fenris Kindir
Black Metal
Abyss Records
January 4th, 2013
Release length: 40:48
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Arckanum is a band whose name will slip off the tongue of any Swedish Black Metal fan. The Chaos-Gnostic influence the band pertains has been a huge attraction for fans, and clearly helped to progress the band both musically, as well as lyrics. After seven full-length albums, this one-man veteran, Shamaatae, is ready to challenge the masses with their latest effort, Fenris Kindir. But, does it truly capture the primal fury and anger that previous effort have?

After an atmospheric introduction of a dark, rainy day with “Fenris Kindir Grúa,” the music changes to a very bass-driven commanding performance that slowly builds up the tension with surprising restraint. The music that follows is simply raw, finding the thud of the bass kicks working in favor of maintaining the pace, though the more natural snares do slightly conflict. It never gets insane or maniacal, instead shifting back to that restrictive opening when things reach their most abrasive. “Fenris Gangr” does maintain that held back approach and bass heavy style, but isn’t afraid to just throw tenacious blastbeats into the mix, sometimes still having a very strong groove that the solid drumming really helps to capture. “Tungls Tjúgari” wastes no time getting to some of the catchiest riffs the album has to offer. The main verses push the bass guitar to the forefront with more of a twangy performance that is impossible not to bang your head along to, slamming into faster blasting passages complete with sharper guitar riffs. This actually causes the bass to end up drowned out a bit, which is unfortunate, but overaqll still sounds strong.

“Hamrami” shows of the slight Pagan touches of Arcklanum, though the entity itself is far from this style. The acoustic pieces and additional fiddle give the instrumental a nice Folk Metal touch that works with the varying interludes, introductions, and outros scattered about the album. There’s also the nightmarish “Vargøld.” A rhythm drumming can be heard in the distance as a guttural voice, met with other snarling and rhaspy voices, seem to be performing a ritual among what can be described as a firey pit, surrounded by lava with other creatures forcing slaves of lesser worth to suffer or do their bidding. A woman screams to bleed this track into “Angrboða,” which shows a little Thrash influence to the early Black Metal roots with as much infectious poisonous rage as an early Venom offering. Half way through, the mood becomes grim thanks to an extended slower climax that eventually welcomes those demons back. This becomes a tool that the final songs feed off of, such as “Spell” with its darker atmosphere, and truly intimidating presence during many bridges. The track, however, ends up the least engaging. The groove is catchy enough, but aside the tone that the riffs create, it just ends up a good song with very little to make it memorable before wrapping up with the Hellish “Sólbøls Sigr” and the growling demonic voices against a violin that sounds as if it is being played above the flames of a town burning.

What starts off s a subtle, restricted Black metal album that builds a dark and rainy Folk influenced tone, Fenris Kindir turns into a nightmarish opus. Thanks to various samples, instrumentals and interludes, each song is connected to one another, while establishing the album’s environment. Granted not every track on here is as stellar as the last, such as “Spell” and a few other later tracks that try to cash in on the shift of atmosphere, but don’t quite do it well enough. Arckanum continues to grow and nurture their sound, even after all these years. Even if you’ve never heard an Arckanum album before, Fenris Kindir makes a solid experience Black Metal fans will all appreciate.

01. Fenris Kindir Gr̼a Р2:12
02. Tungls Tjúgari- 4:33
03. Dólgrinn – 3:44
04. Hatarnir – 4:19
05. Hamrami – 2:35
06. Fenris Gangr – 3:16
07. Vargøld – 4:19
08. Angrbo̡a Р4:39
09. Úskepna – 4:03
10. Spell – 3:47
11. Sólbøls Sigr – 3:20
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Arckanum
Arckanum

Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records.