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Quickly after Fjörd’s demo was released they announced that their signing with Totenkopf Propaganda and the coming of a full-length album. I had listened to their first demo Vinlandic Northern Heritage plenty of times and liked it enough to follow any news tidbits the band had to offer while they recorded their debut full-length (which was little to none for nearly fourteen months). Eventually Vor Tru did see the light of day in November of 2009.
Instant gratification waits anyone who has heard Vinlandic Northern Heritage and had the same nitpicks as I. The mix of Vor Tru isn’t nearly as muddy, the buzz saw guitars don’t overpower the rest of the instruments (the drums are given breathing room!) and the vocals have been cleaned up so the lyrics are comprehensible and, though maybe not as powerful as other Viking themed albums, pass off as much more enthusiastic [Including some vocally interesting mixing techniques]. Also a quick mention regarding the mix is the almost inaudible lead guitars are definitely present on this release -- a huge plus in Viking metal where the rhythm guitars are always prominent.
Like most debut full-length albums two tracks from Fjörd’s demo were re-recorded for this release: quite possibly the two most standout tracks of the demo -- Shores of Vinland and The Calling. As Shores of Vinland made an excellent outro track to the demo it also makes a stand out intro track for this album and quite fitting for those familiar with the band already. Unfortunately as the album progresses it is clear that those two tracks come off as quite amateur. The riffs, ideas and final presentation of the new songs overshadow those two tracks.
Where I mentioned in my review for Vinlandic Northern Heritage that Fjörd was dropping the ball on matching the genius of Bathory they quickly made up for on this release. While they are not instantly memorable and the formula is not perfect such tracks as Over Mountains into the Storm and Hammercreed with their vocal ranges and uses of lead guitar melodies with interesting rhythms are leaps and bounds better than anything on Vinlandic Northern Heritage. Tracks like these are the foundations of a bright future and very satisfied fans (even more satisfied like myself who has been following since their first release).
What makes Vor Tru much more enjoyable over the demo is the fact that there is enough time to focus more on the metal and the listener isn’t left feeling as though he/her is being pulled between the folk aspects and metal. While there is the section in the opening track and the folk A L'ombre Des Fjords they do not feel out of place or completely distracting. A L'ombre Des Fjords has a more unique feel when instantly after comes the most aggressive song on the album: Je Leve Ma Corne. While it isn’t in a long shot the most aggressive outing in compared to even other Viking inspired bands I would say that it gives an even larger range of style and unique characteristics this band has developed in such a short span of time.
A concern that the vocals will turn off a lot of people with this full-length release is brought up again but understanding the celebration of heritage and love of one’s own land are key factors in why this sort of style is used and why it also works very well. The most rewarded would be fans of Bathory’s Viking era and Falkenbach though all metal fans fascinated by heritage and folk music are encouraged to give Vor Tru a chance.