Saturday 14 April 2012

FÖRGJORD - Sielunvihollinen

This is the first of two Hammer of Hate reviews I've had the opportunity to do. This is the third full length by Finnish black metal duo Förgjord. Förgjord are true black metal and sing in their native tongue.


1. Suokaste
2. Ei Kuoleman Arvoinen
3. Musta Lintu
4. Niin Lihassa Kuin Veressa
5. Tulihati 1959
6. Sudeksi Syntynyt
7. Sielunvihollinen
8. Viimeinen Myrsky

Opener, Suokaste is a peaceful intro, featuring traditional instruments. This gives it a traditional Finnish folk feel. The Finnish spoken word sample adds to the sense of mystery hanging over this album. It segues into the first song proper, which is entitled Ei Kuoleman Arvoinen. This song starts with clean guitar, only punctuated by the almighty screams of vocalist Prokrustes Thanatos. The sound of the record is pure evil, with that  organic, old-school production that you get with a lot of black metal releases. I always think black metal bands sound better when they sing in their native language, and Förgjord are no exception. Also, some people may think that being a duo, they have limitations, but this fits their music perfectly, as they are able to keep creative control, after all, they are producing raw black metal that appeals to them, no matter what the masses think.

Third song Musta Lintu is more immediate, showing a nice increase of pace by the duo. Valgrinder doing a great job on the guitar, adding heft and some good melody into music, while Prokrustes Thanatos screams and thrashes at his drum-kit. Part way through, the pace slows and makes way for some spoken word incantations. Förgjord show variation in their sound, but stay true to their genre. The opening guitar tone of Niin Lihassa Kuin Veressa lures you into a brief false sense of security before smashing you over the head. The creativeness in this song is brilliant, as it's multi-faceted sound brings an almost desperate sense of euphoria to the listener, when they realise they're being dragged further into the depths of hell!

I am in awe of the guitar tone on this record. Thanks to the production, it sound really clear but without losing any of it's rawness. The glimpses of traditional instruments like flute and kantele, remind you where the band are from and add a subtle warmth to the record, which would otherwise be cold and desolate. Instrumental song Tulihati 1959 marks the midway point on the record. The guitar melodies invoking thoughts of fierce Viking battles! Sudeksi Syntynyt is their longest song on the record and it does seem to carry you off on a journey, filled with fear and loneliness.

As Sielunvihollinen strides into it's final tracks, Förgjord hit their stride. The penultimate and title track sounds as ice cold as you'd imagine. Förgjord demonstrate their chosen sound to it fullest here. Viimeinan Myrsky is their final blast of northern darkness, the sound of the kantele is heard again and the record finishes how it started, with a devilish atmosphere hanging over it. As an introduction to Förgjord this has been very positive. Black metal may be an acquired taste to some, but to me it's a mysterious and interesting genre, with an image that stays true to itself. I appreciate that and the lengths that bands like Förgjord go to uphold it.

There are undeniably modern touches on this record, but due to sheer abrasive evilness of the vocals, it's still deeply rooted in the underworld, destined to be the preserve of the black metal hordes. It shows that black metal still has relevance, especially in these austere times and reminds us that all is not well in the world.

As you might expect, Förgjord like to keep things mysterious, so don't have a big presence on the Internet, however you can read about them and pick up this album from their label Hammer of Hate at You can also listen to two of their tracks, Musta Lintu and Sudeksi Syntynyt their as well.

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