Following on from 2019’s accomplished album Jartecken, Swedish epic Viking/black metallers Ereb Altor continue to impress with new album, Vargtimman. With their post-metal / Pagan metal take on Bathory-inspired black metal proving ever fertile, the songs found here are often wistful, always transformative and, particularly on the likes of the rabid “Rise of the Destroyer”, majestic and marauding.
“Rise of the Destroyer” aside, Ereb Altor’s black metal leanings do feel slightly tempered here, with the vocals often favouring a baritone holler as opposed to the obligatory shriek and the band seeming to ‘wander’ with purpose instead of raping and pillaging at will. A compromise which works in Ereb Altor’s favour as when they do open up – such as on the mesmerising “Alvablot” – the shackles of black metal trappings are well and truly shaken off. A more authentic, natural atmosphere – one very much informed by ‘nature’ – then prevails and this is when Ereb Altor ascend.
“Den Dighra Doden” then takes this further, opening with the sounds of the forest before settling into the kind of cold, mid-tempo attack favoured by Immortal a la “Tyrants”….with occasional battle cries subdued by near ambient moments of eerie calm. Balancing act perfected!
Back-loaded with its best tracks (the hypnotic beats and staccato riffing of “Ner I Morkret” are an instant attention grabber), Ereb Altor’s latest release is clearly a cut above the normal blood and thunder of Viking metal – Amon Amarth we’re looking at you! 8/10
Ereb Altor’s Vargtimman is due for release on January 14th, 2022 via Hammerheart Records