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More folk from Fenriz - 95%

Symphony_Of_Terror, March 25th, 2005

Once again the mid nineties is struck with a folk inspired side project of Darkthrone’s mastermind Fenriz. Similar to his efforts with Isengard on the Hostmorke release Fenriz and company deliver enjoyable folk metal and traditional folk inspired/style songs. Nordavind, in respects to Hostmorke, manages to take what is good about that album, expand upon it, draw from it, and bring the full potential of what Fenriz can do with a black/folk metal album. Delivering ten tracks with little failure Nordavind has no major short comings and seems to have perfected this unique style of what now seems like Fenriz exclusive style black/folk metal.

As in Hostmorke, the majority of songs on Nordavind feature the dark, raw, slow yet constant, flowing, Darkthrone style riff to carry the black metal element(s) of the songs through till the end of each song, and ultimately the album. They are basically carbon copies of Hostmorke’s riffs, or vice versa since these two albums came out during the same year. Enhancing the trademark Darkthrone riff style is the slow, choppy, and at times pounding drumming . Don’t think blast beats but more like loud and slow drumming, repetitious and catchy, filled with volume. A prime example of this, and where it is done best on the album is on Oppi Fjellet, midway through the album. A repeated, volume filled, simplistic yet catchy folk style drum beat (think a Cruachan song meets the song Jewelthrone but slower) caries the main beat of the song. This combined with a main raw and flowing riff gives the song a pleasant traditional folk style rhythm. It is a mildly dark riff, not grim at all, that plays well with Fenriz’s loud, volume filled vocals, sometimes sung or spoken in a powerful tone. The song gathers some intensity towards the end as the vocals fall into a harsher style picking up a hint of hate. This is the best song on the album that best represents what this album has to offer. But with an album that has some good variety there is more to be found, unlike Hostmorke which was all of the same (a song like I just described).

Fenriz recruited Kari Rueslåtten do to some female vocals on this album. Songs such as Mellom Bakkar Og Berg and Lokk (which I think is about the Norse god Loki) have her singing in a gentle and soft voice, at time doing a solo performance and other times accompanying Fenriz’s old man vocals. Langt Borti Lia features the most unique vocal structure/style from Kari. With an intro that has a far east feel to it, Chinese or Korean perhaps. The song produces a faster, repeated rhythm guided by Kari’s flowing almost Asian style vocals. A nice added variety and not overused at all on the track, nor the album. Yet most of the album that features her vocals are a softer spoken/sung style, all in Norwegian. This gives this album some needed variety making it more than just a repeat of Hostmorke. More variety is even present, manifesting in the form of both a Fenriz and a Kari solo vocal performance track. Both sounding like a traditional folk and a Norwegian folk style song.

While little to no other bands are doing this style of music, Storm is certainly a band to check out. For variety and uniqueness Nordavind receives its highest mark by creating a catchy and memorable piece of work. This album features no flaws or short comings, the inherent repetition found on folk metal albums doesn’t do anything to weaken this work. If your into Darkthrone, or blackened style folk songs, Nordavind, and Storm’s other work, is for you.