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Layers of Avant-Garde Complexity - 100%

SlayerDeath666, March 14th, 2017

Fjoergyn are one of the most complex and fascinating black metal bands in existence. Their sound is epic, dark and brooding, incredibly diverse and ever evolving. Lucifer Es is their fifth album and does everything it possibly can to live up to their past output. Fortunately, it succeeds on every level imaginable, passing every test with flying colors and showing the world why Germany continues to be one of the best countries for metal. If anyone ever thought metal was stagnating or lacking originality in any way, listening to Fjoergyn would instantly dispel that notion.

Fjoergyn’s sound is extremely avant-garde and unlike any other band in existence. At its core, it is still very much rooted in black metal conventions but there is so much more to their sound. The standard tremolo picked riffs with non-stop blast beats are ever present on this album but when the songs slow down, the music becomes much more interesting. This is where Fjoergyn excels with absolutely gorgeous and incredibly haunting guitar melodies like the one in the middle of the closing track “Freiheit” that will make your jaw drop. It is not just the guitar melodies though. This album contains serious riffage of the fast and heavy varieties that really drive the more conventional sections of songs like “Leviathan.” The band also makes excellent use of symphonics and orchestrations, including moments of exquisite violin, which adds a lot of atmosphere to this album.

The title track possesses a ridiculous amount of layers and diverse sounds from brilliant acoustic guitar work to middle-eastern inspired percussion to a quiet but seriously creepy organ in the background. The middle of this song (from 3:00-4:30) almost sounds Myrath inspired and so does the melody that ends the track after the church bells. While this track is incredible by itself, its true greatness lies in the fact that it is followed by one of the single greatest songs in history, “Blut Samen Erde,” which has basically everything a listener could ask for in a track. It starts with a sharp guitar melody and an excellent drum roll that segues right into furious black metal riffing. After that, it launches into crunchy riffs, complete with chimes and a beautiful orchestral melody in the background. As if that were not enough, really heavy riffs come in around the 4:45 mark before showcasing some more lovely guitar and violin work and finally transitioning into one of the most beautifully layered sonic textures in the history of the genre.

Stephan’s vocals have always showcased a wide range of aesthetics from tortured screams to the hard, throaty German vocals of a band like In Extremo, except far more sinister. He can do any of these at any time and the complexity of Fjoergyn’s music is such that he often uses two to three styles in one song. There is no better example of this than “Terra Satanica,” which features every vocal aesthetic present on the album in just short of seven minutes. This is impressive to say the least and encapsulates Stephan’s range beautifully, which is interesting given that it is the heaviest and most conventional song on the album.

The drumming on this record is incredible and shows a lot of variety from relentless blast beats to creative, hard-hitting fills and cymbal work. It really helps drive the pace of these songs as well as fill out the sinister yet quite beautiful atmosphere of this album. Martin’s ability to seamlessly flow between the various speeds and styles of Fjoergyn’s music is unmatched in the genre. There is no clearer evidence of this than his work on the album’s closer, “Freiheit,” which starts slow and purposeful, the sense of impending doom growing with each hit of percussion. The song proceeds to go through every speed imaginable until it reaches critical black metal mass, yielding 45 seconds of pure, unadulterated black metal ferocity followed by a sharp, echoing guitar lick that will haunt the listener long after it ends. Thus ends the listener’s 61+ minute journey through the layers of avant-garde black metal complexity that only a Fjoergyn album can produce.

- originally written for The Metal Observer

Avant-garde satanism - 100%

PaganiusI, March 4th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, 2 12" vinyls, Lifeforce Records (Limited edition, Black + red vinyl)

Fjoergyn are known for going their own paths and it's pretty interesting to see them head into different directions and improving their sound over the years. The newest album of this Thuringian band got the trve title "Lucifer Es", but its theme is way beyond the typical black metal "I love Satan" attitude.

"Lucifer Es" is filled with 8 songs (one of which is an intro) which make the album a ~60 minutes long experience. One of these songs, "Terra Satanica", had already been released on the eponymous EP in 2016 and gave a small glimpse on what we had to expect from the new release, yet it turned out that the song is way more electronic than the rest of the release. In fact, the release sounds more like the logical progression after "Monument Ende" than an electronic experiment.

After the slowly progressing "MMXVII" that already starts to build up a dark yet epic atmosphere and the exalted intro-monologue the first song "Leviathan" kicks in with groovy and deep riffing that pushes the song forward and gets supported by midtempo-drumming and a pinch of bass. The speed varies a lot and the band invokes an almost ghostly vibe in the slower parts which is one of the main reasons this album is that intense. Another reason is the pretty dominant keyboard that provides extremely dark, epic and pompous melodies and segments that add to a truly satanic atmosphere and compelling performance. Add some choirs, some orchestration and even some oriental feeling that almost sounds like AlNamrood (see "Lucifer es") and you get why I love this album.

But Fjoergyn would not be Fjoergyn if they stopped being aggressive and so they consistently add cold and harsh riffs and fast blast beats to their sound which is bringing pleasure and work to the neck while your head rotates and a dark feeling crawls back into your ears as soon as the pace drops again. Fjoergyn manages the combination of atmosphere and pure, raw power very well and the escalation between the atmospheric parts is a welcome change every time it kicks in.

The vocals are guided by the changing pace and aggression level and reach from dark spoken words ("Leviathan") over melancholic or harsh clean vocals and Eisregen-like screaming to deep growling and frequently receives some sound effects like reverb or slight distortion which is giving an extra layer to both the vocals itself and the album as a whole. The lyrics however are always pretty understandable, even in the harsher and guttural parts.

While we're at it: The band didn't record this to party (at least not only for that), the album is a big fuck off to a world that gets more and more intolerant and flees into religious bullshit of any kind. Social criticism is pretty common in modern music, but Fjoergyn doesn't simply point at people, they create a story. The band's lyrics on this album are inspired by the bible and tell the story of the everlasting war between good and band, God and Satan and ask the question who is the real bad guy. While doing so the interested listener starts to question them and might even like the way the band is thinking, but even without the deeper meaning the lyrics are pretty good written and the story itself stays interesting for the duration of the album and tons of listening sessions and live gigs afterwards. It's a theme that many bands have covered in the past yet Fjoergyn add their own fingerprint and create something new and interesting.

If you combine all the different aspects of this release you get an album that literally has no bad songs and is unique, intense and simply great. Every song is remarkably different from the other songs, yet everything floats into each other and creates a consistent total picture. "Lucifer es" is bombastic and epic just like every other Fjoergyn-release, yet darker and gloomier the his predecessors. It is really impressive how a band that started with a great debut like "Ernte im Herbst" gets even better on every album afterwards. "Lucifer es" is currently the climax of the band's career and in this spirit: "VIVE LA INQUISITION!"

Originally written (in german and a little bit different) for: