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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