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Carpathian Forest, as with many bands, have changed considerably over the past ten or so years. Journey Through The Cold Moors Of Svarttjern is Carpathian Forest’s last release before they started to change their style towards dirty raw black metal, to what it is today, aggressive, sick, heavy, and groove oriented black metal. Journey Through The Cold Moors Of Svarttjern showcases a band that can play very well atmospheric black metal, very different from their sounds today. The songs are very strange at times, and certain moments become very memorable, odd, and a bit insane/chaotic.
The first song on the album, Journey Through The Cold Moors Of Svarttjern, is the best song of this demo, it is also the direction I wish Carpathian Forest would concentrate their later albums on being like. Journey Through The Cold Moors Of Svarttjern progressively builds up a sick and disturbing atmosphere that is amazing, something this ep, and CF in general do well still today. The songs is quite repetitive, it is a simple drum slam over and over, with a dirty raw guitar riff droning on and on in a similar repetition with small variations. What makes the song so progressive is the disturbing keyboards. The keyboards will make the song go from one movement to the next, keeping the song interesting and enjoyable. The best feature of the song is Nattefrost’s vocals. They are very harsh, a bit like Burzum’s Aske ep, and are stretched and washed out giving them a desperate feel. Nattefrost’s vocals give the song its consistency, since they are almost ever present. Aside from Carpathian Forest’s Black Shining Leather album, Nattefrost does his best vocal work on this song/demo. Not best in terms of sounding, but working them well with the song.
The last two songs follow in vain of the first, but not as well. They produce some depressing, isolated, slow paced atmospheric black metal. The Eclipse-The Raven is just likes its predecessor, but it focuses more on keyboards and softer sounds. It offers something a bit different than Journey Through The Cold Moors Of Svarttjern, but still remains true to the demo. The Last Sign Of Nostalgia further expands on the style of The Eclipse-The Raven. Where as its slower paced, softer, creepier, and presents the best atmosphere of any of the songs on the demo. The song will create depressing landscapes through melancholy guitar plucking and washed out keyboard sounds. It is a very long song that is repetitive, but its repetition is what gives it its atmosphere, what makes it good.
Journey Through The Cold Moors Of Svarttjern along with Through Chasms, Caves, And Titan Woods, and Black Shining Leather, is Carpathian Forest’s best and most original work. Its very different from their newer stuff, mainly Morbid Fascination of Death and Defending The Throne Of Evil. Journey Through The Cold Moors Of Svarttjern offers some disturbing, atmospheric, dirty, and raw black metal. If this demo were expanded on and turned into a full length release it would be one of the top ten black metal albums of the early to mid ninety’s from Scandinavia. Better than Pure Holocaust, better than Frost, better than In The Nightside Eclipse. It is a great demo and I recommend downloading it or getting CF’s compilation that has this demo on it. Its unique and not something to be missed for black metal fans.