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Svaldifare - Fortapte Roetter

Fortapte Roetter
by Damian Smith at 14 August 2019, 11:25 PM

When I was assigned my first reviews for Metal Temple, there was something in particular about SVADILFARE’s, “Fortapte Roetter,” that immediately called out to me. The attached press kit described a raw, and emotional Norwegian Black Metal record entirely crafted in a dusty mansion by the band’s mastermind, and sole member, Svartmunin. Everything, right down to the beautifully painted cover art, depicting rays of sunlight shining down on a wintry, Norwegian landscape, is the product of this one man’s imagination.

One-man projects are an increasingly common trend in just about every genre of Metal. These days, anyone with access to a computer, and the patience to figure out what they’re doing, has the ability to create something spectacular, and have it be heard. The choice to go it alone, whether out of an unwillingness to compromise, or simply out of necessity, is one that I will admit to having a profound respect for. There’s definitely something to be said for anyone with enough commitment to their own vision, and the necessary drive to actually see a project through to its completion. And, this is the path that Svartmunin has followed since 2005.

As we begin to unpack this record, with the track “Tenn Flammen Paa Ny,” we’re greeted by that familiar, unpolished hiss that has become synonymous with Black Metal production. Underneath, the instruments all plod along at a mesmerizing, dirge-like pace, with epic, clean vocal chants layered in throughout. About two minutes into the track, a clean guitar transitions the song into more melodic territory, and we’re treated to more of Svartmunin’s clean, almost folky singing, which for me, almost calls to mind the likes of I.C.S VORTEX.

The following two tracks, “Breidablik,” and “Brutalt Fortalt” are a bit less remarkable. But, nevertheless, show off a decidedly more vicious side of the band, with the latter featuring some of the most tortured vocals I’ve ever heard. The clean vocals make a triumphant return on “Hordalands Skimmer,” and I couldn’t be happier about the dynamic they bring to the music. Svartmunin’s voice is full, and rich here, and he demonstrates a great ear for harmonies.

The monumental, eight-minute closer, “Sjoelvmord,” is perhaps my favorite track on the record. Distant, tranquil, clean guitar chords open the song, and are soon joined by a delicately picked lead and some gorgeous, ethereal strings. Sorrowful clean vocals join the fray as the song builds, gradually, to its mid-way point, and the addition of drums and distorted guitars. “Sjoelvmord” is a stirring, and grandiose conclusion to this record and I couldn’t help but be reminded of BATHORY’s later output while listening to it.

It’s good to know that my intuition didn’t fail me, and the undeniable call of that cover artwork offered precisely what I had hoped it would; a cold, and solemn, auditory journey through the vast, Norwegian wilderness. I would be interested to hear a SVADILFARE album with clearer production in the future, because I think that the vocal performances, and layering on this album really warrant it. But, in no way does the album’s raw aesthetic detract from it, at all.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 5

4 Star Rating

1 – Tenn Flammen Paa Ny
2 – Breidablik
3 – Brutalt Fortalt
4 – Hordalands Skimmer
5 – Vemodig Farvel
6 – Fortapte Roetter
7 – Sjoelvmord

Svartmunin – All Instruments 
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions


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