without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
When it comes to black metal, I find it to be a thin line between poorly produced crap that sounds like it was recorded in a public toilet using a cellphone (e.g. Pure Fucking Armageddon, Transilvanian Hunger etc.) and works of art that really mesmerizes the listener with trace-like repeats (e.g. much of the early Burzum-stuff).
"Kampen Fortsætter" is of the latter category. Rarely have I found raw black metal to be as appealing to me as on this album. While by no means easy listening, it makes up for it by creating a certain atmosphere - highly distorted guitars and monotone drums contribute to making the atmosphere on this album grim as hell).
The album starts off with the appropriately named "Portene Åbnes" (The Gates Open), which starts with ambient keyboards, followed by very distorted guitars creating an excellent mood.
The raw and chaotic "Stormen fra Nord" is interesting in that it changes from a repeated, hyptonic riff (that have Key to the Gate written all over it) to a chaotic, almost Immortal-like, passage and back.
The track is followed by "Landeplagen skal bort", which is just as grim as its precedent. While containing some of the most comprehensible vocals on the album, it unfortunately also sports some boring, and at times really annoying, guitar riffs.
Track 4, "Intethedens Larm" (The Noise of Nothingness) is ambient, and is as Burzum as it gets: A keyboard lays the mood for a quiet track with nothing but the keyboard to be heard. It's beautiful and, as stated before, very hypnotizing - albeit with its 9+ minutes it may seem overly long, but then again, compare to "Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte" ;-)
"I Der Knæler i Ynk" starts off soft and, perhaps, a bit cheesy, but then kicks in to raw-as-hell distorted black metal in the vein of tracks like "Burzum" (the song) and "Jesu Død".
It is followed by "Da Frostvind Blæste", which, apart from having a title that made me think it was off of Darkthrone's Panzerfaust album, also sounds very much like songs from said album - but, of course, with better production. However, the song changes pace midways and goes to sound more like the old Burzum - only to jump back to the Panzerfaust'ish sound. Indeed interesting.
Closing off the album is my absolute favorite: "Sidste Kapitel i en Endeløs Fortælling" (Last Chapter of an Endless Story). Although nothing more than the same riff repeating almost all the way through, it does exactly what separates good black metal from crap black metal: It creates an ATMOSPHERE! In this case an atmosphere of depression. Feelings that pass through me when I hear this track include: Melancholy, sadness and longing. It can still bring a tear to my eye (which, admittedly, is not something you experience much in black metal, or metal in general!)
It seems obvious that Ynleborgaz is a follower of Varg Vikernes, at least musically. Burzum influence is all over the place. The ambient "Intethedens Larm" can best be described as "Dungeons of Darkness" mixed with "Tomhet" (and a bit of "Svarte Troner"), while "I Der Knæler i Ynk" has obvious influences from the Filosofem album.
That is not to say, however, that Angantyr is purely the result of "Burzumania": Angantyr does not rip off Burzum, but rather takes some pieces in order to create more good music - with a slightly different sound. (and lyrics in another language!)
Also, the Darkthrone influence in notable, especially in "Da Frostvind Blæste" and "Sidste Kapitel i en Endeløs Fortælling", but also present on several other tracks. There is even, as stated above, a bit of Immortal to be heard.
Nothing bad can be said about the instruments: The drums are good (Ynleborgaz is mainly a drummer, after all!), the guitars are distorted as all hell, the bass is... well... the bass? I haven't been able to hear any so far... The ambient keyboards on some of the tracks work excellent, while the vocals are better than Vikernes' vocals on Burzum. Having Burzum-like music with a vocal that doesn't sound so damn demented (sorry, Varg!) is really a pleasure.
With Kampen Fortsætter Ynleborgaz has seemingly taken the best from several of the best black metal artists out there in his own little experiment - an experiment that has turned out really really good.
Denmark has quite a bustling and original black metal scene, yet until quite recently its virtues were only known to a few, mostly those located in Denmark itself. Thankfully labels like Total Holocaust Records are picking up on this country’s great bands.
And Angantyr can certainly be counted amongst the Danish greats.
From the opening piano notes one can hear that this is not your typical amateur black metal musician. The achingly beautiful introductory piano-part, later enhanced with distant echoing guitar notes, betrays a thorough understanding of classical composition. This is further driven home by the following black metal track ‘Stormen fra Nord’ which continues the same composition of the intro, before veering off into great emotional dual-layered melodic riffs (following different time-signatures no less! Only bands like Abigor and Negura Bunget pull this stuff off!). It then returns to the opening composition enhanced by mesmerizing backing synths before closing off.
Composer Ynleborgaz isn’t just influenced by classical music of course and you can expect to hear parts that are more traditionally old-school, although always these parts get further expanded by additional lead-guitar parts, varied melodies and occasional ambient or classical styled backing synths. And yet, with all the embellishing and expanding of riffs, the core themes of each song remain firmly in view and the layering is never too deep, the melodic riffage never too pretentious, and the backing keyboards never dominate the guitars or become cheesy. The drumming is also quite competent. Nothing outstandingly technical, but they’re very varied and Ynleborgaz has the skill to pull off his vision on how the drums should sound as well as any other instrument he chooses to use.
There’s a quite significant ambient centre-piece called ‘Inthedenens Larm’ that ranks up there with the better compositions of Vinterriket or Raison d’être, which isn’t surprising given the fact that Angantyr started out as an ambient-project. The only song outside of the ambient-piece that is entirely minimalist is the album closer, which deserves special mention in the way that it shows that Ynleborgaz can also write a fully engaging song around one single riff. And this riff, bringing to mind the closure of a tragedy in its abject fatalism, backed up by intricate drumwork and depressing synth-lines, will haunt you for years to come.
The prevailing atmosphere is one I’ve also noticed in other Danish bands like Sortsind and Nortt. A certain cold northern grimness and majesty combined with a sick, quiet despair that is usually only heard in french bands. Angantyr is slightly less downbeat than the two above-mentioned bands though and strikes a nice balance between triumphant melodic work and utterly despondent minimalist riffs and piano work.
Praise worthy is the way in which Ynleborgaz seems to combine his various influences (and they seem many) while still retaining staggering individuality. Structurally there’s just the right amount of variance; no part overstays its welcome and many are the change-ups in riffs, while still remaining entirely cohesive and flowing. This is quite stunning to put it simply. I think anyone with an appreciation for neo-classical works will thoroughly appreciate this if they can stand the typical harshness of black metal productions.
This is pretty obscure black metal and should definitely get some more recognition among black metal fans. It's mesmerizing from beginning to end.
The intro is an epic song of slow depressive chords accompanied by some piano in the background. It really sets the atmosphere of the following song. Stormen Fra Nord starts off with slow-to-mid-paced tremolo picking riffs with mid-pace drumming. It streams like that for awhile and then the drumming gets a little faster with a lot more cymbal-hitting. It, then returns to the slower drumming. I prefer slower raw black metal rather than blastbeating, so that's a big plus here! The next song is different and more uplifting. It has that traditional 2nd wave BM sound to it. It wouldn't fit out of place on A Blaze, that's for sure. It's good for this type of band to have that kind of nostalgic tune, IMO. Intethedens larm is the epic of the album. But in a different way. It's a very hypnotic ambient song. It sounds like something you would hear on Hlidskjalf. The next two songs are very similar. It also focuses more on the dissonant chords. These two have a strong mid-tempo going on with the same riffs recycling. But that's not a bad thing here. This is Black Metal, damnit! Who cares about the lack of 'creativity and technicality'? Anyways, the drumming on these two songs utilize the double bass more but conservatively well. What I mean by that, is that it doesn't overshadow the riffs at all. Another thing here is that ALL of the drum patterns, slower or mid-paced, go perfectly well with the same riff in each of the songs. That is what makes this album a contender in the black metal scene today. The utilization of structure. Nothing is overdone or vice-versa. The final song honors that statement as well as the rest of the album. But this song is the best closer any black metal fan could ask for. Slow and melodic. The production is perfect. No, not 'perfect' like Tagtgren's production ideas. It fits the music and lets you hear everything while still having that raw black metal sound. Did I forget to mention about the vocals? Well, the vocals are similar to Nocturno Culto with a little of its own sound. Sounds great though!
Check it out if you like your black metal hypnotizing.