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Damn near perfection. - 97%

BlackEnergy, May 13th, 2003

I'll start off by saying that Fenriz' competency as a solo artist amazes me. He may have discarded Isengard back in 1995, but even then his contribution to Darkthrone was minimal as far as actual music was concerned (only doing the drumwork). In Isengard, Fenriz took care of everything, and he did it well.

Now Vinterskugge was a great album, but words cannot describe how much better Høstmørke is. Vinterskugge focused on the aspects of folk and black metal equally, while Høstmørke places much more emphasis on the folk side of things. The only real black metal on the album is seen in the last two tracks, "Thornspawn Chalice" and "Total Death". Furthermore, these are the only low points of the album, "Thornspawn Chalice" being slightly better. On the rest of the album everything is amazing, from the folk music to the highly melodic vocals.

Which brings me to my next point: the vocals. I'll quote the person who originally recommended me Fenriz by saying "his voice has character". Simple as it is, that statement sums it up entirely. The vocals on the folk side of the album are clean, melodic, and rather operatic sounding (for lack of a better word, mind you); they are captivating and are by all means a sole reason for listening to the album.

The music on the folk part of the album is just as good. While fairly simple sounding, it draws you in and complements the vocal style perfectly. The riffs in the songs (or at least, the songs with riffs) are all extremely varied too, straying from the repetitive sounds often seen in similar styles/genres. The drums (Fenriz' main instrument, it seems) are also very well done. Songs like "Landet og Havet" and "I ei Gran Borti Nordre Åsen" deviate from the normal folk sound, yet still blending in perfectly with the rest of the album. The former is actually sung in the vein of the Christmas carol "What Child Is This?"...I am sure if this was at all intentional, but the two do sound strikingly similar; the latter uses some traditional folk-sounding instrument whose name or origin I am not aware of.

It's really a shame Fenriz isn't still making Isengard albums; nevertheless, Høstmørke should fulfill your musical desires for a long period of time despite its short length.

Highlights: "Neslepaks", "Landet og Havet", "I Kamp med Hvitekrist", "I ei Gran Borti Nordre Åsen"