Svartahrid- Forthcoming Storm
Band Homeland: Norway
Band Homepage: None Found
Label Homepage: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Released in 1999 on Napalm Records, “Forthcoming Storm” is the first effort from these Norwegian Black Metal warriors, and connects solidly to the old Scandinavian ways. It is a Viking album without doubt. The imagery, from the bands logo to the artwork on the front of the album to random images throughout the liners and back cover all point to the Gods and to the faith of those that followed them. And as anyone who reads my reviews knows …this will get my attention every time.
But it takes more than a suncross and battle scene to make a good album. Happily, Svartahrid delivers. Drawing heavily from a frozen Black Metal sound, once cannot help but notice the (well done) keys that brought Dimmu Borgir to my mind instantly, and the simplistic but heavy guitar rhythms are extremely effective. The drumming is excellent, but what totally define this album for me are the absolutely relentless grim vocals by Istar. The overall atmosphere created by this album could give you frostbite on an August afternoon.
There is a bit of additional excellence with this album. While sung mostly in Norwegian, each song that is not in English comes with an English translation. Now if that isn’t someone thinking about the fan base (staying true to the roots of but giving us English speaking types a glimpse of their poetic lyrics) then I don’t know what is. This fact alone earned the band an additional point on my review, as I was able to understand what they were singing about, even if I’m not exactly up to the task of proper pronunciation of the lyrics for a sing-along.
In case you have not guessed already, I really like this album. I have to admit, this could have verily easily had a Dimmu Borgir logo on the front of the album and no one would have batted an eyelash. And while I have no problem in saying that I like Dimmu Borgir a lot, I think that they could have squeezed out a drop more originality with this effort. But I stand by all my reviews, and in this I maintain that “Forthcoming Storm” is an album worthy of anyone who enjoys the Black and frozen sounds of the bitter North, and for anyone who enjoys the lore, it is dead on.