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Enter the Underdog - 80%

thejoker, August 31st, 2011

With Vaakevandring being a long-distant and extremely cherished memory, when it comes to the current acts in Norwegian unblack, it's always Antestor that hogs the spotlight. Frosthardr, that other Norwegian Christian black metal band, chooses instead to sulk in the darkening woods whilst Antestor hogs all the glory upon the mountain tops. It's sad in a sense, but to be expected - most casual black metal fans will take more kindly to Antestor's more polished and melodic sound than a band as defiantly old-school in sound such as Frosthardr.

Frosthardr seem to have little time or care for frills - the band plays traditional, old-school black metal with a certain reverence akin to latter-day Darkthrone or Carpathian Forest's mid-period, with a little Satyricon thrown in. Unlike the Swedish sound, Frosthardr don't overload on blast beats or raging speed - everything here is very, very minimal. Guitars, bass, drums, vocals, with a few very minor keyboard parts here and there, all played with a real reverential nod to the past. Jokull's vocals are as grim as it gets, frostbitten and haggard-sounding, and defiantly wretched. Instruments are all played well, with the guitars opting for more of a middle ground between abrasive and chunky. Drums are very old-school in sound, not tinny or overly tight but definitely metallic.

Really, "Makteslos" is just a three-song EP much like their latest release "Varg". The first and last tracks are very fitting and ferocious-sounding industrial noise-fests, "Koma" and "Ravneskrik" speed things up a little, and "Death = My Relief" slows things down to a doomish crawl (imagine a black metal band imitating Incantation).

Overall, not a spectacular release, but a promising one. It's good to see a band that is very retro in sound, yet not simply succumbing to Darkthrone-imitation, instead creating their own sound that still hearkens back to black metal's turgid past.