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'Trolltaar (a Troll's tear)' was the last good offering of this band before they went downhill. The sound on 'Trolltaar' is rather thin, the guitars sound somewhat 'distant' (except for the solos), the drums are buried in the background, and so are the vocals (at least the grim ones); the only instrument that sounds clear all the time is oddly enough the bass. But the reason for this might as well only be because I have listened to this MLP so many times that its rendition has eroded. Still, I have to say that in some way this sound fits the music well and adds to the atmosphere. Ancient are not trying to be aggressive or dark here, but they rather go for an emotive (not gay!), nostalgic atmosphere, although ‘Trolltaar’ and ‘Nattens skjønnhet’ are partly at a pretty fast pace. Both these songs peak in a guitar solo each that are to be counted among the best ever recorded in Black Metal, they perfectly embody the rough beauty of the region Ancient originally come from, namely Vestlandet (the western part of Norway). Again, all of the riffs are excellent and have somewhat of a melancholic feel to them, and the subtle use of keyboards enhance the majestic mood of the music. ‘Eerily howling winds’ (only on the LP) has already been recorded for ‘Svartalvheim’, this recording here differs in sound both from the other tracks on this MLP and the version on their debut-album. It actually sounds more like a rehearsal recording. Personally, I prefer the ‘Svartalvheim’-version though, because the vocals sound weak on this version here. ‘Fjellets hemmelighet’ is sort of an outro, consisting only of keyboards, fragile, lamenting female vocals (on the CD) and a bit of percussion and acoustic guitar. Contrary to what one might expect (given the bands later releases), it does not sound cheesy, but beautiful and sad.
'Trolltaar' is definitely worth getting if you are interested in atmospheric Black Metal. Get the MLP if you can find it at a reasonable price, as it includes the track ’Eerily howling winds’, absent on the MCD. The MCD, on the other side, offers a longer version of ‘Fjellets hemmelighet’, with female vocals, if that is something you care for (a better version of ‘Eerily howling winds’ is on ‘Svartalvheim’ anyway).