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Viking brutality in my headphones - 95%

zhay777, October 22nd, 2011

I'm great fan of Christian black metal ("unblack metal"), accordingly, I’m fan of Slechtvalk, but when I listened to "A Forlorn Throne" at first, I was shocked. I didn't like it and I thought that Slechtvalk died. It must be said, that this album has really unique guitar sound, I haven’t heard sound like that before, and I, don’t know why, didn't like it, I couldn't hear whole beauty of this album, so I put it on last shelf, where nobody could find it. A few days ago, I found out that I had nothing to listen to, so I decided to give "A Forlorn Throne" one more chance.

Noticed a change in the logo? This is reborn Slechtvalk logo. The biggest change which was observed in comparison with the previous albums is in guitar riffs. If in the previous albums guitars and keyboards were creating melodic and symphonic sound, now the keyboards alone make the atmosphere (as in the song 'Towards the Dawn'), while guitar riffs acquired more brutality, typical for viking metal. Drummer really feels his instrument, as well as music, played by the band. Beside the speed of drumming, drum fills like that I could only hear in Metallica's early work. There was made huge upgrade in vocals. Besides of harsh vocals, I could hear growls and clean vocals. Clean vocals sounded in previous albums too, but in this album clean vocals became more frequent. Bass plays among the guitars and almost can't be heard out of mix.

When I heard the intro of Tamers of the Seas, I realized that I wouldn't waste another hour of my life, as I was thinking before. The next track, Forsaken impressed me as soon as I heard the first words. Harsh vocals, with clean vocal and fast, blackened guitar riffs makes me feel whole pain, which is caused by being defeated and forsaken. Emotional parts continue, when song ends with quiet guitar riffs.

The song Desolate is only song in the album with Christian lyrics. It's like reminder, which reminds that this band is Christian, they worship God, not Odin! Don't know why, but the intro reminds me intro of the Metallica's song 'Sad but True', but I like Slechtvalk version even more.

Next song, Divided by Malice has 100% epicness. It starts with keyboards and guitars making atmosphere and clean vocals, which shows pain of main hero. Then guitars start to play brutal, but very emotional riffs, vocals start to growl and then black metal rasp can be heard, which symbolizes cry of his soul, then everything becomes quiet, when by the lyrics hero is shocked and then music web casts his feelings about his vengeance.

The next two tracks, Allegiance and Enthroned aren't so remarkable, as previous one was, but are still great and nice to listen, having rasps and growls give to the songs diversity. It was great pleasure to hear little guitar solo at the end of the Allegiance. The track Bewailed, by the lyrics, returned to the Divided by Malice. In my opinion, this song has the best intro, which band could make for it. Along with clean vocals it gives visions of happiness.

The song Towards the Dawn starts with keyboards, which makes atmosphere of the epic morning, the morning, which is needed for final battle, as the song is about it. When keyboards part ends, brutal, but nice and emotional guitar riffs start, sweet as the final victory is. The greatest part of the song is boxed with lyrics:

'In the end I even experienced death...
But death could not kill me.
His cravious weapons,
I shattered on the ground,
He thought he had killed me,
But now I stand before him.
His thimbles fists, his eternal disgrace.
He is a shadow of the man he should have been.
He could not keep the one I love from me,
The bruises on her face begin to fade.
Now I have recovered what was owed.
His life will end.
So I returned!'

When the second half starts, can be felt great epicness in vocals, while guitars play quick riffs on first strum. The song Vengeance of a Scorned King is final victory of the hero, when he finds and kills his enemy. Guitars riffs remind me thrash metal, growls, rasps and clean vocals are connected with lyrics, drums make background with its fills. 100% ending song!

Slechtvalk is known as the Christian metal band, so I was expecting Christian lyrics, but in this album lyrics deal with Viking themes, like battles and war. To connect all the lyrics, we will have story of one Viking, I don't know, are all the lyrics inspired by one film, or book, but in accordance with this album, can be made great film or book, called 'A Forlorn Throne" and I'm sure I'll love it. I'm Christian and it would be better for me to hear Christian lyrics, but to create brutal Viking songs, lyrics about Vikings are needed. Besides, there are a lot of people, who do not like Christian lyrics, so it's great opportunity for Slechtvalk to gain new audience all over the world.

Many fans say, that their previous release was better than this one, but I think that 'A Forlorn Throne' is no worse. You only should listen to this album not like album by the band, who recorded 'At the Dawn of War', but like album by new promising band.