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True Norwegian Black Metal - 95%

outPHASE, January 3rd, 2010

Reminiscent of very early Gorgoroth (with Hat on vocals) and the earlier Celtic Frost material, as well as the low production quality of early Bathory. This album shows that you don't have to have too much experience to create amazing black metal.

Each of the songs sounds quite similar, but not in the monotonous way. Each song sounds like it was made by the same band and the band seems to stay true to their genre and their style throughout the whole album.

There are faults with the album though, although they are not many, and I am able to overlook them, they are fairly important and more picky fans might knit-pick the whole album based on the faults. The first problem, I find, is that the drumming seems kind of sloppy at certain times. The drummer is skilled though, his blast beats and such were fantastic on this album, and he did seem to set the speed of the music, but there were certain times when it seemed as though he might have slightly lost his grip in the drumsticks. This isn't that major though, as standard black metal fans that aren't too critical probably wouldn't notice it, in fact, it's probably just me, but it does kind of show that the music isn't polished and it is in pure and raw form since those slip ups can easily have been covered up.

Another fault is the vocals, some songs such as Raging Hellfire seemed to have VERY few words, and a lot of screaming. It would be nice if they found a balance between words and shouts. I'm not trying to say, though, that the vocalist is unskilled, he's one of the best singers I've ever heard in black metal.

Now that the downsides have been covered, the upsides are much more numerous and far more important.

First off, I find the guitarist (Shagrath) fantastic in this album. The riffs he plays aren't boring and repetitive unlike many black metal albums I hear nowadays such as Gorgoroth's "Destroyer," they are at times quite melodic and they give the music more flow and melody (obviously.)

The speed of the music here isn't unbelievably fast, verging on becoming death metal, but it's not Xasthur slow. The pace is usually mid-high, so it's quite fast but not too fast, and I find that a lot of really good black metal bands play at that same range of speed such as Enslaved, Immortal and Mayhem.

One thing I really enjoyed doing, while listening to this album, is to try and figure out what Necronos was saying while singing, even though I could never do it. This brings me to my next point, I, for some reason, found it enjoyable that the lyrics were incomprehensible, and I can see that I'm probably not the only person that find them incomprehensible, almost none of the songs have the lyrics posted here. Normally I find that comprehensible vocals are a must but I guess the instrumentals here made up for that and made it work somehow (I don't know how.)

The greatest quality of the album, in my opinion, is the atmosphere that it is able to create for the listener. While listening to the music I felt as if I really am in a scary, inescapable hell, and if this is what Fimbulwinter was going for, then they did a damn good job. It's not often that music makes me feel this way, but when it happens it's the best part of any song. If the atmosphere that is created is good, that means that the music is good, and the vocals are good, everything is good, because that's what atmosphere is a result of; synergy and sound.

To conclude my rambling and to summarize the album, Fimbulwinter's Servants of Sorcery is an album the embodies all the good things about black metal and is a fantastic trip down black metal's timeline. It is a demonstration of what black metal was back in the 90's for those people like me that were born too late to experience the first and second waves of black metal in all their glory.