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Fjelltronen - 97%

Lars_Stian, June 17th, 2017

I have been a fan of Theodor Kittelsen's artwork from a young age, and when I saw that Wongraven's ''Fjelltronen'' used one of my favourite artworks of his, ''Den Grønne Ridder'', it immediately caught my attention, and I hoped it would be able to capture the same atmosphere that Kittelsen did with his painting, and I must say, rarely have I encountered an album cover more representative of the atmosphere and sound of an album than this. The music really makes you feel as you are there; wandering through the woods, and encountering a castle deep in a forest.

Though Sigurd Wongraven, as well Ihsahn, are both famous for black metal, this album is a more of a folk/ambient/dungeon synth album, as in it primarily consists of keyboards and acoustic guitars and such. The album consists of quite simple, yet very atmospheric and great melodies. The music heavily relies on atmosphere, and it really does feel like a trip through medieval times. To me, this albums feels more like a single giant song, as they all flow very nicely together, and though the mood has some changes throughout the album, the atmosphere and imagery stays consistent, and you really get ''lost'' in the music (for a lack of a better term). The album almost feels like a journey; a travel through forgotten woods until you finally reach the castle in the conclusion ''Fra Fjelltronen''. Though I can't say for certain,but judging by the lyrics and atmosphere, this albums seems to take inspiration from the story of the Soria Moria castle.

Sigurd does a fair amount of vocals, and they're quite good. Whether it's humming, singing or simply whispering, it does a great job of setting the mood and building the atmosphere. His singing is very good; his voice sounds quite powerful, and adds a lot to the music, creating a new layer in the music, so to speak. The lyrics are also quite well; especially the lyrics for ''Fra Fjelltronen'', and for those who understand Norwegian, I'd recommend giving them a read. They're not so extraordinary in the poetic sense, but rather so in the content and imagery of the lyrics, if that makes sense.

The structure is amazing, and as I've already mentioned, there's a great flow, and it almost feels like a journey. No song feels too long and nor too short, repetition works in their favour, and helps build the atmosphere, but luckily, Sigurd knows to restrict the repetition as to not make it boring or stretched out. I find that to often in dungeon synth do bands use repetition way to much to compensate for their lack of melodies, however this is not the case for ''Fjelltronen''. As for the production, there really isn't anything to say. The production doesn't stand out in any way, and I haven't really even thought about the production until just now. You can everything clearly, and I doubt anyone would have any problems with it.

In conclusion, Wongraven's ''Fjelltronen'' is a great album, and I'd even be as bold as to say the best album in the genre, and the only negative thing I could really say is that it isn't longer, and that's it. The album is just amazing from start to end, and I'd recommend it to not only fans of the genre, but to all. My favourite songs are ''Det var en gang et mennesket'' and ''Fra fjelltronen''.