Review – Fyrnask: Bluostar

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Review – Fyrnask: Bluostar
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Fyrnask appears to be another one man underground Black Metal project. This act resides in Germany, and formed back in late 2008. Focusing more on lyrical content towards nature, as well as ritualism, this newer entry into the whole Black Metal scene is relatively unknown, though not one of those acts who tries to hide an identity from the listeners in hopes they will concentrate more on the music and that it would be beneficial to the release. Seeing life through the underground label Temple of Torturous, Bluostar, the first full-length recording from Fyrnask, follows the act’s debut demo recording Fjorvar ok Benjar one year earlier. With what the press release describes as a “combination of classic Black Metal rooted from the harsh landscapes of Northern Europe together with an eerie ambience,” one can only imagine what this solo project has in store for the listener.

Surprisingly, this release doesn’t really follow the more “kvlt” underground philosophy of “the more raw and analog it is, the better the final product will be.” But, even though the quality here is a little more cleaner and obviously more modern sounding, the overall product makes you actually wish it were a little more raw. While the album isn’t sterile from a clean audio quality, you can’t help but sit back and feel that while the harsher Black Metal here sounds good thanks to it’s intensity, the cleaner atmospheric and ambient Black Metal moments simply don’t sound that strong. The drums sound great here with a strong thud to the bass kicks that compliment the loud hollow sounding snares and equally as loud cymbol crashes. The audio of the recording itself ends up being pretty low all around, but the guitars still manage to shine through the drums and bass nicely with a harsh sharpness that captures the more frostbitten early second wave era of Black Metal nicely with what sounds like additional clean guitars in the background, as well as rather clean keyboards at a similar distant volume that adds more of a cold and somewhat depressing atmosphere to the music. The bass ends up making a strong impact, though it doesn’t really come through too loud, feeling more like the addition of a semi-blunt instrument to the sharp guitars. With all this, the more intense and sinister atmospheres of the faster paces are captured well here, but the slower moments that really try to set up a frostbitten melancholic vibe to the music don’t always work out, despite the change from rhaspy wails performed nicely to a louder clean singing approach that feels more soothing yet ritualistic in comparison. Some of these moments can really just slow down and feel like they are being dragged out to extend the life of certain songs.

This happens to be the case with “Evige Stier”. While the introduction track “At Fornu Fari” is not a bad track to establish the atmosphere through some slower, more melancholic sounding material, this track hammers the sharper, venom spewing Black Metal speed and intensity into the skull of the listener right away, eventually shifting through a decent transition into an ever slower ice-like softer passage that eventually just goes to one toned down sharp Black Metal distorted chord being plucked every few seconds. This ends up being the first time you really feel the band is just drawing things out, and while it clearly is meant to establish more ambience to the atmosphere, it just fails miserably at by that point it becomes more gritting and annoying then anything before it shifts back into a faster and heavier sound not like what the song departed from for a short while. This passage really should just end the song, as it would have closed it on a good note, but instead we go back to that slow, clean, crisp sound once again, though this time without that icier atmosphere or vibe, trudging along until the end of the song. It’s not bad, but there is clearly a large focus on these parts, and while the second actually isn’t that bad, especially when the distorted guitars merge with the cleaner chords being played to start building the melancholic atmosphere back up a good while before the speed kicks back in, the first time it happens you can’t help but feel it was drawn out just a bit too far and really starts to lose the listener and even just becomes boring, which is sad given the stronger ambient passages that Fyrnask pulls off so well prior to this track, and even after with the desolate sounding “Eit Fjell av Jerm” and it’s choir-like chanting that really makes you feel alone in a helpless place.

Thankfully the slower boring moments of “Evige Stier” don’t really carry over to the other songs. Some of the shorter Ambient tracks here, like “Eit Fjell Av Jern” and “Die Firnen Tiefen” do a good job at atmospheric ambience, whether by really taking it over the top to create a musical picture in your head that works on your emotions, or just a very subtle piece that feels natural but nothing too crazy to alter your feelings. Even these Ambient aspects of the band’s Black Metal sound do improve as you journey along, such as the dark introduction that seems to build up in an epic fasgion for “Bergar”. Fyrnask does a good job at focusing more on the atmospheric material, but also introducing some of the more venomous Black Metal intensity and speed other tracks have. The song’s near nine and a half minutes manage to fly by because of this and keep the listener attentive the whole time. The same goes for “Ins Fenn”, which actually focuses more on the intense side of the style then atmospheric, though still managing to bring in some more heavier Ambient sections similar to “Eit Fjell Av Jern” without going too over-the-top with it.

Overall, Bluostar is a pretty good album that mixes Ambient Black Metal with firey venomous aggression of the second wave Black Metal sound. Most of the time, the two parallels are combined well, but the release does get off to a rocky start for a few songs through Ambient sections that are not that inspiring, and even feel more tacked on and interruptive to the song’s flow. The last three full-length songs stand as the better tracks off the album, though “Ein Eld I Djupna” is also a fantastic offering, and much of “Evige Stier” prior to the forced slowing down of music for atmospheric sake is also greatly enjoyable. Some of the Ambient tracks here work well also, but again after “Evige Stier”. Fyrnask definitely put a good foot forward with this album, but overall it’s not one of the most impressive, and the audio quality does help the faster passages but the slower one feel a bit hurt by the cleaner sound and don’t have that strong an atmospherical impact in the end because of cleaner sounding instruments that seem to clash with the venomous distorted guitars and richer drumming. If you enjoy atmospheric Black Metal, it’s worth checking out, and honestly overall the album is not one of the worst offerings out there of this style with the better tracks making up much of the album’s actual length, giving you some value for your money. Bluostar makes for an album that is worth checking out if you have the time, but don’t go in expecting to hear a fantastic dark and sadistic Black Metal offering to rival others of the style.


Initial Pressing Score: 7/10