Ett Fjärran Kall by FornhemRelease date: August 25, 2017
Little is known about Fornhem. The info we have is that Vafthrudner and Solbane formed their black metal band in Sweden. The other thing that we know, is that Ett Fjärren Kall (A call from Afar) is an excellent album that trims the fat of the sound to get to the essence of black metal with a folk flavour mixed into it.
When you start listening to this album, you get the feeling that this band has been there forever. So solid and recognisable does the music appear. Its repetitive nature, the heavy delivery, it all makes the fact that this is a debut very suspicious. Bleak riffs full of foreboding overshadow the listener as the 13 minute lasting title track unleashes upon them. Visions of dark forests, lakes and skylines are unveiled in the steady stream of music. The stomping, almost mechanically precise drums keep a steady pace. Into darkness we go.
What is very remarkable about the sound of Fornhem, is that it touches upon the best of folkish black metal, while remaining very pure. As if you could really stir Darkthrone, Drudkh and Burzum together to make a perfectly grim cake. While that is probably a very crappy metaphor, it does position very well what Fornhem is going for. Almost hypnotic, dreamy black metal without any unnecessary adornments. A listener is lured along by the clear and evocative voice that is the music of Fornhem. The vocalist more or less speaks to you over a slow paced sound that gives plenty of space to breathe.
The steady cadence of the sound is what really makes this so enjoyable. Black metal has always on its more atmospheric been strongest when it creates a sort of static flow. This is what Fornhem mastered. No quick currents, sudden quickenings of the play, but a continuous passage of time. A very natural sound, which creates its own mythology on this record. From the boisterous melancholic force of ‘Kosmisk Dvala’ to the weary, slow paced chanting of ‘Úrdjupets Svärta’ and its gently acoustic intermissions, Fornhem completely masters their pure form of music and it is a joy to the ear.
Final track ‘Fornhem’ offers a climactic ending to the record, building up to a mighty crescendo in its 15 minute ascent. It’s a mighty ending to a superb record, though it might lack some theatrics you may have gotten used to. Fornhem knows how to make a grand gesture without being flashy and over the top. Their force is in maximizing the minimal and that they do very successfully on their debut album.